Last night I received the sad news that an old friend had passed away. I have previously posted about the Ellis Brothers here. Alec Ellis passed away earlier this year and Mort suddenly died a couple of days ago at the ripe old age of 98!
Like their brother Ossie, they were still active at the time of their passing so thankfully they all died ‘with their boots on’, Mort had been down to the nearest town, Sheffield, to get some groceries earlier in the week and looked fine according to a friend.
Thankfully, I had called in to see him back in August when I was last in Tasmania and he was still in fine form, living simply in his shack at Cradle Mountain, expounding passionately on the evils of man’s greed and it’s effect on the natural world, still tinkering with his perpetual motion machine.
Axeman, trapper, cheesemaker, fisherman, miner, sawmiller, ferry-captain, these were just some of the occupations that Mort found himself in during a knock-about life that had it’s fair share of hard times. Tough men during tough times, but for all that, Mort,Alec & Ossie were incredibly generous, with a twinkle in their eye and a humour that was uniquely Tasmanian.
When I last saw him, Mort was a little bemused to find himself on the cover of a book, “Through Their Eyes- Glimpses of a Changing Australia” by Lucy Taylor, Published by Brigalow Press in which the author had travelled Australia recording the stories of people such as Mort. Well worth reading to hear the perspective of a generation that has seen more change than any other!
This time I didn’t make any photographs of Mort, in the past he has been very patient & generous with me and I was able to capture some nice shots of him and I have some great memories of a good friend to me & my late father.
Although he was not particularly sentimental and he always maintained that there was no ‘afterlife’ as many people would like to believe, I hope that if there is, he catches up with my father and his two brothers over a cold Boag’s or two and have some of those spirited debates that they were all so fond of having!
Went down to Conway Beach the other night to have a crack at some star photography, ended up doing a little bit of lightpainting and finished with an image that is my take on where the human race stands within the bigger picture!
Scotland has some dramatic scenery, especially in the Western Highlands where I spent 10 days driving around. Some of the most spectacular is in the Glen Coe region between Oban & Fort Williams.
Unfortunately i was dogged by wild weather during a large portion of this period, with strong wind and persistent light rain that made for difficult shooting much of the time. The locals were fond of telling me that I should have been there a week ago. “Aye, we’ve been suffering a drought!” was a common comment!
I returned to this spot a few times in the hope that the weather would let up just enough to make the most of this location. Cloud I could deal with, but rain was the killer!
This was a shot I was forced to make by climbing down and shooting from under a bridge to escape the light rain that was frustrating me. Not the shot I wanted,but It came out well none the less!
After a couple of months hanging out in Europe, I am back! Been a while since I have been o/s so this little trip was well overdue!
Briefly, My itinerary was Aus.-Singapore – Belgium-Scotland -Belgium -Singapore -Aus., saw some pretty cool things along the way and even got some photos as well.
To avoid the looong flight to Europe, I decided to have a break in Singapore both ways which is a little adventure on it’s own. Last time I was there was 2004 and there have been some changes! One thing I noticed about Singapore is that they are always building something new and when they do they don’t stuff around. Money seems to be no object and I suspect that environmental groups don’t get much of a hearing in the planning stages.
One thing I like about Singapore is that it is firmly striding toward the future but that doesn’t mean that the past will be forgotten either so the modern,ritzy side of Singapore seems to sit comfortably alongside the older,slightly crumbling areas such as Little India,Geylang and Chinatown. Many cultures,faiths and ideologies appear to co-exist harmoniously in this island state.
i had seen some photos of Marina Bay Sands & Gardens by the Bay on postcards so I thought I would go & see if I could get some dusk shots.
Even so, I wasn’t prepared for what I came across! To put it mildly,the structures in the following images are fantastic flights of imagination that have been brought to life.
Gardens by the Bay is a huge botanical garden in which they have built these stylised trees and the really cool thing is that eventually they will be covered in foliage themselves. All this is free to walk around except if you want to go on the suspended walkway and I think there is a cafe in one of the trees. A bit hard to get your head around the scale & cost of all this i have to say. Off to the left is a building that houses a rainforest with canopy walks etc.
As evening approached I found a spot down by the artificial lake to get some shots of the Marina Bay Towers which I will just let you see for yourselves.
I always thought the Spanish designer Gaudi had access to some good “gear”, but not on a scale like this! Although I didn’t go up to the observation deck where there is huge swimming pool just walking through the middle tower was an eye-opener’,opulence on a grand scale! Twice an evening they do a laser & light show set to music from the other side of the towers of which you can see glimpses of here, but that’s another story.
After spending an enjoyable hour or so with another photog who filled me in on some other things to shoot, it was time to see the ‘show’.
Heading back up to the main arena, it was like stepping into a futuristic fairytale. An Aussie band was doing a free concert and the lighting on the “trees”was set to the music. Pretty cool to watch, I probably should have taken a movie on the iphone but I was just trying to find places to take stills that weren’t obscured by the many trees in the area.
Apologies for the long absence from the blogosphere although I have been checking you all out occasionally!
The reason for my absence is that my father of 92 years of age passed away about a month ago down in Tasmania. Luckily, I did get to see him before he went although he was not concious at the time.
It was while we were putting together some photos for his service that I realised that I didn’t have any images of him that I had taken and there were only a couple of images of us together that thankfully another family member had taken. There was also a long period of his life where there were very few photos of him at all which effectively meant that most photos were happy snaps taken in his early years or his later years!
After his service, I thought about this and came to the conclusion that peoples memories of him were his best legacy and it also made me realise that although I have been a photographer on & off for many years, I had always put people in the ‘too hard basket’ for various reasons.
So, I have resolved to try and become a better people photographer because most of us are guilty of taking our family & friends for granted and they won’t be there forever!
A couple of good friends of my father’s invited me to stay with them up at Cradle Mt. while I was there, so just to put things in perspective, I took them up on their offer. The Ellis brothers who I have posted about previously, are men from a different age. Tough as nails and with a body of knowledge in their heads that is slowly disappearing as one by one they pass on. While I was there, I had an opportunity to capture them in their environment and hopefully try to bring out there personalities on “film”.
Mort & Alec live in a couple of spartan cabins right on the edge of the Cradle Mt Nat. Park. Along with their late brother Ossie they had extensive land holdings in the area which they have subsequently sold for tourism development. Surrounded by tourism accomodation, most visitors to the area don’t even know they exist.
Mort is the oldest brother, 95 yrs young and still keeps himself occupied with making his own cheese and ínventing’ perpetual motion machines! He has a great singing voice and is convinced that all the woes of the world are caused by man’s greed for money. To listen to he & my father passionately debate this issue was an education in itself!
In spite of his advanced years he is still as sharp as a tack with a healthy sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye. Still drives his car down to the nearest town, which is an hour drive for most people, along steep winding roads at a very healthy pace!
Alec, his younger brother lives semi-permanently in a cabin separated from Mort’s by a large machinery shed. Alec is the ‘entrepeneur’ of the family, he , along with Ossie saw the opportunities in the Cradle Mt. region many years ago and together they built the first commercial accomodation, built in the area, Pencil Pine Lodge.
At heart, Alec is most happy when he is at the controls of an earth-moving machine of some sort and is always tinkering with something along those lines. His cabin is a single room shack that was an old Hydro shack he saw on the back of a semi-trailer one day and later bought for around $100.
One of the worlds great talkers, (heaven help you if he calls you on the phone!) he knows everyone, has a great fund of stories and is always seeing new opportunities and has a heart of gold as well!
One day these two great old men will be gone, I am proud to have met them through my father and the world will be less for their passing. In the meantime, I hope I have captured them in a way that shows the essence of these two ‘old timers’!
I am just about to see if I can put together a good image of the moon rising over Cedar Ck Falls. As i was sitting there thinking about how to go about it, I was reminded of an image I have of the full moon over Steep Is. in the Kimberley.
This was just an experiment to see how to put together a composite image but it came out so well that I thought I would share it with you all!
The beauty about this image is if you were in the right spot and the moon was in the right spot, this could be real (ish)!
David Bettini and Mark Stothard have been posting some great shots of storm clouds they have encountered during their recent trip along the Kimberley Coast. Once again I have been inspired to have another look at a stitch of an awesome looking storm that swept across Prince Frederick Harbour. Decided to do a monochrome version as i was having trouble getting the colour version to look just right.
This place seems to be a storm magnet and as Master of the vessel I was on, I was watching this pretty closely as we were in the middle of passenger tranfers by Helicopter!
As it turned out, it passed by with little effect but I got some great images while it was around. Hope you like this one!
Three posts in one week!? I’ll be taking over from Mark soon if I am not careful!
Just looking through my files and I found this image of the same tree but with a looming storm in the background. Whatever the conditions, that tree seems to draw your attention and to me both images are quintessentially Australian!
Weather has been totally crap over here in coastal Queensland for the last few days. It just won’t stop raining at all! In the last week we have had over 400mm of rain here in the Whitsundays and I forget the last time I saw a shadow.
Funny thing is that the Qld Government is funding a big tourism campaign to advertise that Qld is open for business. What with everything else that has happened over the last few months, this latest bout of wet weather is lousy timing if nothing else! We just keep saying under our breath that ‘the sun will come out!’ If you say it enough it will happen……..won’t it??
This image is just to show you all that the sun does shine in the ‘Wetsundays’ and when it does you wouldn’t be anywhere else!
Is it possible to have “photographers block”? If so, I think I have a case of it right now, just can’t seem to get the results I am looking for at the moment.
Anyway, for this post I will stay in Tasmania. I have previously posted about one of these buildings before but at the time the light was pretty flat so wider views of the old building were a little bit dull with a blown out sky.
On my last visit to Tasmania I wanted to get some more shots of this dilapidated building, so I did an early morning drive to try and get the low sunlight that I thought would be a little more interesting. Glad I did, as some other outbuildings on the same property were lit very nicely by the early morning light as well. Not sure what these outbuildings were used for, maybe workers quarters,stables, etc, but I am glad I stumbled upon them while rambling down a country road just following my nose!
These will one day be gone, but for now they add some historic context to a world which is becoming more homogenised.
Tony Middleton mentioned how much he liked my header image so here is the full monty. Hope you like it Tony!
The next one was taken about 10 minutes later just as the sun hit the horizon. I really like the subtle light in both of these.
This is the first shot taken on the same afternoon as my previous post. I love the contrast between the seeming order of the sand ripples in the foreground and the chaos in the clouds above. Kind of a metaphor for life, the universe and everything. Our very orderly solar system was created from chaos, the sand ripples were created by the chaos of the waves which in turn were created by the wind which is reflected by the chaotic clouds.
Anyway, I hope you like it!
I went up to Dingo Beach the other afternoon to get a range of images so I could test out a Plug-in for Lightroom by the name of L/R Enfuse. The plug-in is an HDR plug-in put together by Timothy Armes and is available from The Photographers Toolbox. I have never been a big fan of HDR as a lot of images look a little weird to me but that is just a personal taste.
So far the results look pretty good and I will be playing with it for a while to get the best out of it. Here is one of the images I came back with.
This shot nearly didn’t happen! I had been taking a range of images with a fairly un-inspiring sky. I wasn’t particularly worried as It was more about the process rather than the image this time. The sun had set and I waited for a while just in case. Judging that nothing was going to happen, I was in the process of packing up my gear when I looked up and noticed that a bit of colour was appearing in the clouds. Setting up my gear again I managed to get a couple of very nice images over the next 10 minutes.and it all faded as quickly as it had appeared!
The title of this post says it all!
What do you think?
Up here in tropical Queensland our seas are protected by the Great Barrier Reef so we don’t get the swell and wave action on the shoreline as they do down south. Consequently, opportunities for dramatic images of the coastline with long exposures are pretty rare.
As I am not out around the islands these days I have to make do with places I can access by car and Conway Beach is one of those. At low tide it is a big expanse of sand flats which sometimes expand for about a quarter of a mile.
Being flat and featureless, finding a strong foreground can be problematic but if you go for a bit of a walk something will present itself. In this case the sand ripples left by the receding tide as well as the tidal pool were about the only chance of a foreground to balance the magnificent colour of the sunrise!
Another one from the vault. This is an image from what used to be my “öffice”. One of my favourite anchorages in the Whitsundays, Stonehaven is tucked up on the NW side of Hook Is. Secure holding,surrounded by lofty hills, close to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the Whitsundays and you get to see some great sunsets like this one!
Hopefully I will be back out there soon!
The Kimberley, an ancient, timeless land where man’s influence is so far, fairly minimal. That could change in the future if the gas,mining companies and government have their way! Like the Tasmanian SW this is an area that should be left as a wilderness, free of ugly gas plants, disfiguring mining operations and the like.
Traveling through the Kimberley by sea you get a good sense of how insignificant you really are and you get a feeling that the land is watching you,impassively,waiting for you to make a mistake.
On most days during the dry the landscape is a magnificent palette of colour, dominated by the ochre colours of the sandstone of which the area is comprised. Contrasting with the blues of the sea and endless sky as well as the greens of the post-wet season greenery it’s easy to fill a memory card pretty quickly.
But on the rare occasion when a thunderstorm rolls across the landscape, it seems to take on a more primitive & malevolent feeling. You almost expect a dinosaur to make an appearance somewhere and indeed there are dinosaurs around in the form of crocodiles.
This is my attempt to communicate that feeling you get.
This is a monochrome rendering of a similar shot to my last post. The light rays are a little more defined in this one!
This is the image straight out of the camera.
All processing was done in Lightroom 3. Crop & Straighten,WB adjustment, B&W conversion, Graduated Filter, Beef up contrast, Split toning.
If anybody has ideas on a way to improve it, comments are most welcome as I am sure it can be improved upon!
I love this type of light!
You know how it is, rummaging through your files, seeing if there are any little gems that you had forgotten about.
After processing a couple of new images tonight, I was just going over this particular folder when I came across this image of a sunrise at Shute Hbr. I had shot this about a year ago and like a lot of my images, I sat on it for a while.
I have to say that I quite like it because I am a sucker for crepuscular sunlight at the best of times and this a pretty good example!
I also like it for it’s simplicity, It could be composed a little better but the brick shed I was standing next to limited my options on that score. Probably look good as a monochrome which I will do another day, I’m off to bed!
I guess you have all heard by now that Tropical Cyclone Yasi smashed into the Qld Coast at Mission Beach last night. Rated at Cat.5 it is the largest storm to impact Qld in a century.
The coast between Townsville and Cairns copped the brunt of the storm with places such as Tully,Cardwell, Mission Beach and Innisfail sustaining major damage. Luckily no reports of major injury or death have been received so far.
The Qld Government should be commended for the planning and procedures they have implemented during this event and our Premier, Anna Bligh has been an absolute trooper during all the disasters that have hit Qld in recent times!
Here in the Whitsundays we had gale-force winds all night but once again no significant damage has occured. Early modelling suggested that TC Yasi would come ashore not to far away from the Whitsundays so everybody was prepared for much worse conditions than we actually got.
Driving around Airlie Beach this morning I was flat out finding anything dramatic to photograph apart from the “surf” in the bay.
A marked contrast to what it is normally like! A few desperate surfers even paddled out in to the mushburgers risking stingers and sharing the line-up with a yacht that had dragged anchor overnight.
Every now and then it would get nailed by a wave that would break outside it and I am amazed the anchor was holding it at all!
The vessel featured in my last two posts was getting a hammering so I thought a couple of shipwreck shots were in order just to have on file.
While we here have escaped this time many people further north have not been so lucky and will take a long time to recover.
Here it comes! TC Yasi is barreling towards the tropical Qld coast as a Cat 4 system and is expected to cross the coast near Cairns sometime early Thursday morning.
Here in the Whitsundays we are expecting some serious winds and rain. The one thing about Qld cyclones is that they often recurve to the south as they approach the coast. That could put us in the firing line, so we are not out of danger yet! Everybody is apprehensive about Yasi for good reason, it’s a biggie!
In my last post I thought the grounded vessel may have been lucky by coming ashore in a sandy area. Inspection at low tide showed it managed to strike a couple of submerged rocks sustaining substantial damage underwater. Unlucky!
Well, TC Anthony crossed the coast at Bowen last night at about 10:30pm. Even though it was wild evening with wind gusts up to about 130kmh,Airlie Beach escaped with minimal damage, lots of broken branches and only one boat driven ashore that I could find.
I was pretty surprised that there weren’t more boats on the bricks as Airlie Bay would have been like a washing machine at the height of the storm. This guy was lucky as he found a patch of sand surrounded by a lot of rocks!
Even though we dodged a bullet last night, we are staring down the barrel of TC Yasi which looks like it is a large and potentially destructive system forecast to impact the Qld coast on Thursday.
The next image is an attempt to capture some of the gale force gusts ripping through the trees outside my door yesterday afternoon
Anyway, it will be a nervous few days coming up, stay tuned!
After all the monsoon weather we have had here in the Whitsundays over the last few months, Huey has made up for it with some magnificent weather over the last week!
This is the view from Airlie Beach and today it was nearly perfect conditions to capture it. The noticeable absence in this scene is people! Normally this beach would have many more people on a day like this but the tourism industry which is the town’s major industry is doing it tough at the moment. Never seen the place so quiet!
GFC, high exchange rates, flooding etc have combined to hit the area for a six. But the good news is that we are well and truly open for business!
In the immortal words of Lara Bingle “So, where the bloody hell are you?”