Sunday 31 January 2016

Chain and Block

I found this large chain and block next to the main jetty on Lord Howe - I rather like them as black and white images.

How can it almost be the end of January already?

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

52 Frames - Week 5 - Shoot from above - "High Summer"

This weeks challenge on 52 Frames was 'shoot from above' - I could have done a lot of this this the cliffs, sea bed and plane journey from LHI - but the shot has to have been taken this week.

On Australia Day I was walking across a bridge at Studley Park in Melbourne when I saw this combination of a row-boat and bright reflection.  It made me think of 'high summer' and I was above the boat - so that was that!

I have to say the images that you can get from a phone are remarkable these days!!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 183 - Pacific Golden Plover

The grassy edges flanking the runway of Lord Howe Island airstrip are a bit of a classic viewing point for waders - and all these pictures were taken while I was leaning over the fence trying to get has close as possible to these rather wonderful birds.

Pacific Golden Plovers (Pluvialis fulva) are a summer visitor to Australia - but because we are in the southern hemisphere we only get the birds in their nonbreeding plumage.  It always makes me laugh when I think that I used to call these plumages "winter" and "summer" - for birds that migrate to Australia when they are not breeding both plumages are summer!

Getting ready to go back to work tonight, so I'll keep this post short and let these splendid little, long distance travellers take centre stage.

This final shot was taken in much brighter light at the north end of the island. This bird and its companions were much more flighty than the birds on the runway - so I was not able to get as close.

As ever, it is now over to you to click on the blue button and join in the community that is WBW!

Monday 25 January 2016

Movement and bride

When I was in Sydney a couple of weeks ago I was playing with some long exposure shots of passing cars.  The idea was to try to contrast the hectic life I was seeing around me with my own holiday pace.  I'm not sure that it worked - but when I bride in her full wedding dress walked into the picture I just had to to keep going.

In the end I am rather pleased with this shot - and again its a bit different to my normal images.  This one will need to be clicked on to been seen at its best.

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

Sunday 24 January 2016

The Ghosts of Summer

On about the second or third day after I migrated to Australia, I went for a drive into the hills beyond Melbourne.  That was the first day I ever heard the screaming buzz of thousands of cicadas, forming a kind of rhythmic background noise to a hot day.  That noise had be synonymous with hot days ever since.

Cicadas spend much of their lives in the soil as nymphs, before they crawl up some convenient  object and burst, alien like, from their own skin to become the adults we hear, not do not often see.  This means that the discarded shells of the last nymphal stage of their lives is the most commonly seem aspect of these insects lives.

Lord Howe Island has just one species of cicada, and what it lacks in size it makes up for in noise! They were the dominant sound on the island during our most recent trip to the Island.  At times the noise would start up like somebody had flicked a switch - and it could also fall silent in a similar way.

These are not shots of the adult, but just the abandoned cases.

In both pictures I choose not to get too close to the 'skin' as I think a little distance gives them a better feel for how you find them.

You can find more macro shots (if this is what these are) at Macro Monday and I love Macro

Friday 22 January 2016

52 Frames - Week 4 - Shoot from Below - "soft white underbelly"

This weeks 52 Frames was Shoot from Below.  The week of the challenge coincided with my return to Lord Howe Island - this time with the family.

On the island you can feed fish in the shallows of Neds Beach - and I used this as a chance to photograph some fish from below.  I weighted a pole with a GoPro on it and let it rest on the sand in the shallows - as the fish swam over the camera I triggered the video, later I extracted some still images from the video file.  It was all rather good fun - and the kids loved feeding the fish!

The fish are Silver Drummer - and they do not make good eating I am told!  The local name for this fish is Stinker, due to the fact that they poo everywhere if you do catch them and that they stink!  So, as a table fish they are not on the menu!

I will be trying to catch up with comments etc over the weekend.  Cheers - SM

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 182 - Lord Howe Island (Pied) Currawong

Island have a tendency to be occupied by unique species - I have already posted about the Woodhen which is a species that is endemic to Lord Howe.

This bird is a sub-species of one which is found on the the mainland of Australia - the Pied Currawong.  This species is called the Lord Howe Island Pied Currawong, or just the Lord Howe Island Currawong.

Its species name is Strepera graculina crissali - which is a bit of a mouthful, the but the first two parts mean "jackdaw-like noisy bird".  This clearly comes from the 'crow' like appearance of the bird, and the fact that they are rather vocal.

The LHI subspecies has a larger beak than the mainland bird, but also has a distinctly different voice. They are inquisitive birds and will follow you about. The bird on the log here was making a very good effort to trash the log in search of food, and seemed not to mind as I shuffled along the ground towards it.  These pictures were taken in deep shade, so I used a flash which is not common for me.

I think you can tell that these are rather intelligent birds.

You can see pictures of the mainland Pied Currawongs here

Now, its over to you - I will be away from my desk for a few days this week so replies may be a wee bit delayed.  Click on the blue button to join in!

Tuesday 19 January 2016

52 Frames - Week 3 - Hello From…….Sydney

I'm out and about at present and this may be my last burst of connectivity for a while - so here are two shots of an icon that screams Sydney!  I submitted the night shot to 52 Frames - but I really like the other shot with the ferries and bird in it as well.

You can find more shots form around the world here.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 181 - Black Noddy

These pictures were taken during one of my favourite parts of my birding trip to Lord Howe Island.  As a group, we had walked along a picture perfect beach and visited a breeding colony of Black Noddys.  After ten or 15 minutes all of the rest of the group left to go and watch some Sooty Terns.  That left me and the Noddys all to ourselves.

If wildlife photography needs one thing (apart from a bit of luck), it's stillness.  I set the camera on a tripod and just stood and waited.  After a while the birds starting feeding their chicks.  Small faces would appear from under the sitting adult, and small silver fish would be hacked up by the adult in response to the demands on the young.  In a few cases, a strand of clear but slimy stuff would linger between the adult and the chick.  Connected indeed.

The formal name of this bird - Anous minutus - refers to the fact that it smaller than the Brown (or Common) Noddy.   One of the other differences between this species and the Brown Noddy is that this species actually builds a nest, where as Brown Noddys just (at best) place a few bits and pieces on a bush and lay eggs there.

I'm up to my ears in work and other such stuff so I may be a little slow in responding over the next couple of weeks.  But I will get there in the end!

Now click on the blue button and off you go into the world of WBW!

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Lord Howe Island Humour

Saw this during a walk on Lord Howe - made me laugh.  Although it seems to assume that all travel will be in one direction in the end!

Busy, busy, busy - so will get back to blog land when I can.  SM

Sunday 10 January 2016

52 Frames - Week 2 - Black and White

I was thinking about this weeks shots for a while, thinking about the kind of 'classic' images that use black and white - social documentary and that kind of thing.

Then it occurred to me that the first time I ever did any reading about B/W was when I read about the zone system for taking images.

This is an attempt to play with the idea of zones in black and white.

Friday 8 January 2016

A evening at The G

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, often shorted to The M.C.G and then further curtailed to "The G" is one of the best sporting grounds in the world - although reader from Sydney may disagree!

H and I went there to watch a 20/20 cricket match this Wednesday - and we were joined by about 32,000 other Melburnians. The match itself was a bit of a fizzer really, but as a 'boys night out' we had a blast!

These are a few a phone shots I took during the night.  I rather like the caged sky shots - wished I had had a more adjustable camera!

You can find more sky shots (and probably less people) at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 180 - Grey Ternlet

I saw these birds during my trip out to Balls Pyramid.  A combination of a moving boat and a fast moving bird was, to say the least, a bit of a challenge.  What made me laugh was that at one time the birds actually came too close to the back of the boat, and I missed a great shot as I was trying to reduce the focal length on my zoom lens!  It's not very often you have too much lens when you are photographing birds!

These birds are Grey Ternlets - Procelsterna cerulea.  The images of this bird in my field guide do not do it justice, as it is shown with a rather bulky beak, and while you can see hints of this in my pictures I think the bird looks rather graceful.  In fact, the way these birds have been captured here reminds me of swifts.

Theses birds are small - although not the smallest terns - at about 28cm long. Unfortunately they are classed as endangered, although there were good numbers of them around the pyramid.

This final, and rather cropped shot, shows a flock of these birds which managed to always stay just too far from the boat - although the picture does show the 'compact flocks dip and flutter over surface near breeding islands' that is also mentioned in my guide book.

And now you know what comes next - click the blue button and off you go.

As a special favour to me, could you try to think of 1 or 2 bloggers who would be able to post here and invite them along - it would be good to start 2016 with a bang!  Cheers  SM

Monday 4 January 2016

New Year's Day (but only just)

We spent New Years Eve in central Melbourne - dinner, new Star Wars movie and then a short walk to one of Melbourne's famous parks to watch the fireworks.  It was a first class evening.

I may have been a little too close to the pyrotechnics to get the best pictures - and research (after the fact) tells me I had my camera on all the wrong settings - but there are time when I simply could not give an stuff, and this was one of them.

So, here are a few pictures from my New Years's Eve / Day adventure.

For those of you that keep an eye on my comments, you will notice that I have included trees in the pictures - which is something I always like!

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