Images of a Big Island

travel

Lest We Forget (Part 2)

Before heading to Ypres for Anzac Day, I had been doing some research  to find out more about the Ypres Salient and Australia’s involvement. I discovered that about 20 km south of Ypres, amongst all the other Commonwealth War Cemeteries lay one of the only two Australian only cemeteries on the whole Western Front. Ploegsteert or ‘Plug Street’ as it was known to the Allied soldiers  was  the sight of some intensive combat and also one of the first places where the Germans deployed the deadly Mustard Gas.

The fact that an all Tasmanian company – with men from the same district as my family came from – had been mentioned by an official historian sealed my decision to visit the site.

Traveling through the Flemish country side, it was hard to reconcile the peaceful farm lands of today with what surely must have been the closest thing to hell on earth back then. Only the stark white headstones of the numerous Commonwealth War Cemeteries scattered over the landscape gave any indication of the bitter struggle that had happened here. it was also sobering to reflect on the fact that the remains of thousands of young men on both sides lay beneath these fields, but had disappeared, perhaps forever.

It was a suitably gloomy day as we found our way down country lanes and a final short walk through the woods to find this peaceful last resting place of some Australian Diggers, ironically in a cemetery called Toronto Avenue.

In Flander's Fields

 

In this quiet little corner of the woods lay the immaculately kept ( as all Commonwealth War Graves are)  resting places of  78 Australian soldiers (mostly from NSW). Wreaths had been laid at the central Memorial and each headstone had a small plywood cross inscribed with a message from schoolchildren back in Australia. Even in this far-flung corner of the world they were remembered by their countrymen.

At the end of one of the rows of headstones was a poignant  reminder of family bonds. Private J.S Luff had left behind a young family in 1917, in 2013 his Grandchildren had paid him a visit to leave old photos of that family and to let him know that he had not been forgotten.

Remembrance

 

 


Lest We Forget (Part 1)

April 25th is a very special day in Australia. ANZAC Day is a day that commemorates all the Military personnel who did not make it home from the various theatres of war that Australia & New Zealand have sent troops to since the Boer War at the beginning of the 20th century.

ANZAC actually stands for the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps that was formed in Egypt in 1915 and sent to fight in the ill fated Gallipoli  campaign in Turkey in WW1. It was there that the ANZAC legend was  born and the Australian Diggers are remembered with a traditional Dawn Service and street parades throughout Australia.

Australian troops were involved in the horrors of the Western Front in Europe, where for four long years the opposing sides waged bloody & futile trench warfare with neither side able to score a decisive victory while whole towns were sometimes wiped off the map in the heavy shelling. ANZAC Day is also commemorated in small towns in Northern France where there are many Australians buried.

This time last year, I was in Belgium and had a loose plan of being in France for Anzac Day. When I mentioned this to some Belgian friends, a town called Ypres in Flanders was mentioned as having ANZAC Day ceremonies and that the Last Post was played every evening. I vaguely remembered reading about Ypres and WW1 so I thought “Why not”?

The Ypres Salient was a part of the Western Front that  is not as well known about in Australia as Gallipoli or the battlefields of Northern France, yet there are many Commonwealth War Cemetaries, large & small, scattered throughout the peaceful farming lands of Western Flanders in which Australians are buried

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The Menin Gate in Ypres is a huge Memorial to the 55,000 Allied soldiers who fought & died in  this part of the Western Front and have no known grave. Each of their names are inscribed on the walls of this Memorial.

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Of that number, approximately 6000 are Australian, 7000 Canadian, but the majority are by far from Great Britain. It is indeed a humbling experience to walk around this Memorial and when you think about the numbers of men who lost their lives during this futile ,bloody conflict, the thought inevitably comes that those who glorify war have really missed the point & perhaps the politicians who send young people to war should be sent into the battle themselves!

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Winston Churchill , when he first saw the  utterly ruined town of Ypres, said that the town should be purchased and left in it’s ruined state as a reminder to future generations never to let a conflict like this happen again. The citizens of Ypres had a different view and so the Menin Gate was built to honour those who had disappeared into the Flanders mud. Sadly, the world did not learn from this madness!

After the town was rebuilt, the citizens of Ypres have honoured the Allied soldiers who were stationed in the area, every evening (apart from during WW2) by playing the Last Post. ANZAC Day  draws large crowds to remember the fallen from the ‘War to end all Wars’!

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Lest We Forget

 

 

 

 


Singapore Lights

Hi Everybody,

For those of you still following this blog, many apologies for the lack of posts recently! I fell down a rabbit hole and have been absorbed in teaching myself about Off-Camera Flash which has been an interesting journey full of frustration punctuated by the occasional AH-HA moment! I will post some more about that at a later date once I have climbed back out of the hole and let it all rattle around in the vacant space between my ears for a while.

In the meantime, fellow blogger True North Mark recently posted some great images of Singapore which inspired me to dust off and post some images that I shot on my way home from Europe last year.

Fantasy Land

Strangers in a Strange Land

Singapore Sunset

Convergence

Helix Bridge

Singapore is an amazing place to photograph, my list of shots that I still want to capture is ever increasing. Hope you like them!

 


Skye Boatyard 2

Hi all,

It’s been a filthy couple of days outside due to a Tropical Low/cyclone which has been wandering around the Coral Sea for the last week, trying to decide whether it will cross the coast or not!

Recently I upgraded from Lightroom 3 to LR 5, so, while the weather has been wet & wild, I have been going back over some of my files to see what difference it makes. Without going into too much boring detail, the upgrade was well worth it with some new tools such as the Radial Filter  and a revamp of exsisting tools such as the Spot Removal giving you more options  for tweaking your images.

One tool I have been impressed with is the Highlight Slider which is brilliant for retaining detail in  skies which I was always struggling with especially when conditions were light o/cast skies. It is nearly like finding an extra two stops of dynamic range in your camera!

The Clarity slider has had a makeover as well and they seem to have put it on turbo so it needs to be used carefully unless you want mid-tone contrast to make your images look like they have a sandpaper texture applied.

I have previously posted about this Skye Boatyard, while having a look at some files I played with these two different viewpoints of the same scene.

Abandoned

Waiting

For me, they really bring back the bleak & forlorn weather & scenery of that day!


Quiraing

These are images of an area in NE Skye called the Quiraing which is an area of huge landslips. In fact the area pictured is still slipping to this day! It’s a surreal, almost Tolkiensque landscape that I had to myself for an hour or so and the howling gale just added to the wild, untamed feel of the place. On more friendly days it is very popular with walkers for obvious reasons.

Being careful not to get too close to cliff edges in case I got blown off, I managed to get a couple of shots that were fleetingly lit by the sun peeking through the racing clouds which was just above me. An exhilarating photo session indeed!

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White Houses

One thing I loved about driving around Scotland was the farmhouses, they just seem to suit the landscape perfectly no matter what the weather! White is the universal colour, chosen because it’s cheap and easy to re-apply.    I would drive through a landscape devoid of trees and buildings and around the next corner there would sit a white house as a counterpoint to all the dun coloured grasses covering the slopes.

These are a couple of images I managed to get on a blustery morning in the north of Skye,blowing a gale and frequent showers!

Skye Line

 

 

Hebrides Highlands

It’s a pretty dramatic landscape, but the buildings help define it and give it more context, don’t you think?


Skye Boat

I am a great one for heading down side roads just to see what’s there. In Scotland, once you are on the road track you are commited to the end as they are so narrow!

Sometimes you find something interesting, often it’s a bust. This road ended at a rather non-descript jetty & boat ramp but as I looked around I spotted a rather different boatyard than in my last post.

_MG_0030-Edit-2Loved the Scottish colours (blue & white) as well as the rock enclosures but what really intrigued me was the stone anchors which I guess was to stop these heavy boats being blown away by the strong winds which these islands are subject to!