As I mentioned last post, it is as dry as a chip here at the moment, so for wildlife, water is pretty scarce! I have friends who are part of a wildlife rescue network here in the Whitsundays. As they have an interest in birds, often when I visit they have birds that they are attempting to nurse back to health before release back to the wild. Mostly they are successful but unfortunately there a times when they are not.
Around their home they have some birdbaths that the local avian population take full advantage of to cool down and have a drink during the early morning and late afternoon. After seeing a great image years ago of a Kestrel coming to roost in a tree taken with the aid of fill flash, I wanted to have a crack at a similar image with off camera flash. Not as easy as it looks , you need to have lightning fast reflexes to catch them as they land or take flight! Still, I managed to to capture a few nice images of two Australian Icon birds as well as a few shots with tail feathers exiting the frame!
The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is the raucous clown of the bush and was a pleasant surprise. He didn’t appreciate the flash going off and you could see him visibly start every time I tripped the shutter!
Both are wild birds and were not harmed in the making of this blog post!
Canon 5D II, 580 EX II off camera flash, Manual mode, triggered by Yongnuo RF-603 remote triggers
Went for a wander through the rainforest yesterday, also got a reminder about why it is called rainforest….. about as far away from the car as it was possible to be!
Love going on that particular walk because it is never the same, there is always something new to see. It also challenges me photographically. There are some magnificent Strangler Figs that I want to photograph, I walk around them,marvelling at their forms and complex shapes. But I walk on without taking a picture because any photo I take won’t capture their essence. One day, the pieces will fall into place and I will get an image that distills them within a rectangular frame.
One thing that always strikes me about rainforest is that it is a battleground and one of the biggest prizes is sunlight. Every plant needs sunlight for survival and growth.This image is my interpretation of the importance on sunlight to the rainforest, hope you like it!
While I was staying with the Ellis Brothers, I thought I would take the opportunity to visit one of my favourite places. Many people walk past these falls without knowing it as the track is not marked and is fairly overgrown in places.
First time I had been here in about 10 years and I had always wanted to get some newer images of the place.Situated on the Pencil Pine Ck which is the Northern boundary of the National Park, it is a special little spot that has always filled me with a sense of what wilderness is all about!
This image was taken as I was walking out from Liffey Falls featured in the last post. This is a beautiful little spot with pristine examples of Myrtle Beech, Sassafrass & Man Ferns. Luckily this in a reserve but not too far away logging still continues!
This image was shot in the Highland area of Tasmania. Pencil Pines are a species related to Huon & King William (King Billy) Pines and are a remnant of Gondwanwa. Found only in Tasmania and Parts of S.America they are a slow growing tree. This one could be up to 500yrs old.
Endemic to Alpine regions they endure some of the harshest winter conditions you could find in Australia but are susceptible to fire.
I love the twisted textures that these hardy trees exhibit ant that is what caught my eye with this image.
Well,finally the sunshine has returned and looks like it might stay for a while. The ground is soggy and the roads are a mess,hopefully everything will dry out and we can all enjoy some nice weather for a change!
Yesterday I went for a drive out to Lake Proserpine with the idea of getting a couple of shots of the water coming over the spillway. Couldn’t get near it because of fences and gates, so I went for a drive along one of the access roads to cattle properties that border the lake.
I came across this stand of eucalypts and I was taken by the shape of the big white one in the center of the image. Love the way it seems to glow against the surrounding forest.
Thankfully there is still a lot of this type of forest in the area. If we keep destroying forests worldwide, one of the best ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere and producing the oxygen that we all need will be lost!
Wandering through the rainforest is something I like to do occasionally, the peace and quiet always seems to recharge my batteries! When you start looking closely you realise that the peace and quiet masks a struggle for survival that is incessant and sometimes downright nasty.
Sunlight is the name of the game in the rainforest, just about every plant is trying to get as much as it can of a limited resource. Many types of plant like the Strangler Fig will use any means to get to the sun in some cases killing another tree in the process.
Large rocks split apart by the tenacious roots of a tree that is looking for nutrients is a common sight.
Because rain forest is often situated in mountainous areas, larger trees require a root system that will give extra support , so the convoluted buttress root system is favoured by larger trees like Tulip Oak.
Taking a camera into the rainforest is often frustrating as you try to capture the myriad of textures,shapes and colours surrounding you. Light levels are usually low, so a tripod is an absolute. Trying to pluck some order from the chaos surrounding you is sometimes difficult but I usually find if you slow down and start looking for the details you usually find some great images.
Be prepared to spend a lot longer in the forest than you originally planned! Oh, and don’t forget the repellant!
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!
While most people here in Central Queensland are heartily sick of all the wet weather we have had over the last couple of months and just want it to go away for a while, a few species thrive in these sort of conditions.
Canetoads,frogs and ducks love this type of weather as well as fungi. Walking around the rainforest you will come across plenty of different types of fungi making the most of the wet conditions and they create a real splash of colour amongst all the greenery.
Why was the mushroom invited to all the parties?
He was a real fun guy!
PS. After a suggestion by Mark Stothard the second image has been altered.
This image pretty much sums up the weather during the past couple of months over here in Qld. Due to a Lá Nina system in the Pacific it has been the wettest spring over here in years! There have been only about 5 days with any sort of sunshine this month and rainfall records have been broken. God knows what it will be like when the monsoon trough starts coming south!
Welcome to the ‘Wetsundays’.
The sugar cane farmers have taken a hit as well with over 25% of the crop left in the ground until next year as the harvesters can’t get into the soaked paddocks.
Meanwhile the SW corner of WA is crying out for rain. Who’d be a farmer?
Sitting out on the patio this morning having my wake-up coffee when I noticed a small spider had built a web close by. Upon closer inspection I was shaking my head in admiration of what this tiny animal engineer had achieved!
The web was about 2m from the ground and was in between a tree and a post with a distance of at least 2m between the anchor points. How it moved between these anchor points at the same time as spinning a gossamer thread with a tensile strength comparable to steel is a marvel of engineering!
All in the hope of trapping an unwary flying insect for dinner.
To get this image was a challenge in itself, constantly changing light and a breeze moving the web in and out of focus. Added to that was the fact that shooting angle and distance were were restricted.
Finishing my coffee and having a think about it, I came up with the solution of spraying the web with a fine water mist to help it stand out from the background and holding an off-camera flash as high as i could reach and slightly behind from the RH side to try and simulate sunlight.
After a few attempts to get the flash exposure right and waiting for a lull in the breeze, I managed to get one that was mostly in focus. The icing on the cake would have been to have a Golden Orb or John’s Cross spider, so I’ll have to work on my spider wrangling skills!
In the meantime, I hope I have done this little engineering feat justice. And we think we are the smartest species in the universe!?
There is something about waterfalls that calls out to your soul. From the awesome power of places like Victoria Falls also known as “Smoke that Thunders” to a hidden little cascade that burbles merrily through the forest, I reckon they are places of mystery & hidden power that can stir your imagination like few other places!
I was out at Cedar Ck Falls the other day taking some close-up images of the falls as well as some timelapse images. While processing this image I tried a selenium tone preset. As soon as it came up on screen, images from “Lord of the Rings” started flashing through my head as well as many other fantasy novels that I am quite partial to!
Not your normal green lush waterfall image I know, but I can nearly see Orcs, Elves or Wizards in a setting like this!
This image is a bit of a favourite of mine. I was anchored off Whitehaven Beach on one of the charter yachts I was skipper of and decided to go to the beach before sunrise to see if I could snag some images that weren’t the usual staple of the tourism industry.
Arriving on the beach the sandflies were in full force and I realised I had left the repellant on board! Bugger.
But I was the only person on this beautiful three mile stretch of world famous beach and the tide had washed away all traces of the hoards of people that frequent the beach during the day.
Seeing this beach without footprints is rare, so how do I convey this emptiness?
I wandered down the beach a way, taking care to keep away from the area that had been washed clean by the tide, looking for a point of interest like a piece of driftwood.
The only mark on the beach was this crab hole which illustrated what I was trying to convey perfectly!
I waited with the tripod, hoping the crab may poke his head out, which would have been the icing on the cake, but he was keeping his head down.
Never the less, I was quite happy with what was in front of me and I shot a few different images with the 10mm wide-angle of which this image is the best.
Not long after this people started to arrive on the beach from their boats, footprints all over the place!
This is probably not an image that is normally associated with the Whitsundays but there are areas in the hinterland that are as beautiful as anything found on the islands.
We have had some steady wet season rain that has transfomed a landscape that 6 months ago was brown and as dry as I can remember.
This little area on the O’Çonnell River north of Mackay was a nice little find for me after following my nose down an obscure country road.
It even has some of the wierdest acting cattle I have ever come across! Probably eating the wrong mushrooms.
5 image stitch, Processed in Lightroom 2
As I am still more or less housebound due to a recent hip replacement,I get to watch the news and current affairs programs more often.
The recent turmoil in the Federal Liberal Party has been a bit of a circus
and the scariest clown by the name of Tony Abbot is now in the ring!
All this has focussed attention on the Emissions Trading Scheme which was put together by the Federal Government and then severely watered down to try and get it through Parliament. All was for nought as the Opposition and the Greens voted it down for totally different reasons!
The one thing I did notice was that there is a dearth of information about the nuts and bolts of this scheme.
With the Copenhagen Summit underway I can’t believe there are still people out there who still have their heads in the sand despite all the science out there that says our climate is changing.
While the earth’s climate has changed drastically many times over the millenia and will continue to do so, surely the sceptics can’t honestly believe that pouring all the crap into our atmosphere for all these years has no effect?!
It’s the same as an alcoholic heavy smoker believing that his liver and lungs will stay healthy.
The planet Earth is our only home so we should be looking after it as we have no other place to go!
Tony Abbott has nailed his colours to the wall so all those conservative voters should be a little worried as he is playing pretty scary politics with the health and liveability of our only home.
Me, I’ll be voting Green!
If you are heading to Cradle Mountain, chances are you will pass through an area called the Middlesex Plains.
This is one of my favourite drives, great road and the scenery has a haunting beauty to it that is unique. Skeletons of trees killed long ago by extreme weather and fire, among other causes, stretch their ghostly limbs to the sky.
The human history of this area is littered with tales of hardship,loneliness, folly and bravery although there is little evidence of it these days.
I have tried to capture what this place feels like on a few occasions but so far it has eluded me, Its a place that needs time to get to know. These are a couple of attempts that hopefully gives an idea.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that photographers such as Tony Middleton who lives in Victoria were posting images of a dry, blackened landscape after the horrific bushfires.
At the same time we here in Queensland had flooding rains and everything was green and juming out of it’s skin!
How the tables have turned. Tony is posting images of lush green meadows and we here in Qld are going through one of the driest winters for a long time!
i had spotted this windmill and water trough a while back and thought it could make an interesting shot. God only knows what the Brahman cattle on this property are drinking as there is no surface water anywhere that I can see!
Bring on the wet season!
I guess we all have our own version of ‘God’s own country’, but for me it’s a region in Northern Tasmania where I grew up and members of my family still live.
The area surrounds a town called Sheffield. A farming region with rolling green paddocks, an imposing mountain that dominates the local landscape and places with names like ‘Paradise’, Nowhere Else’ and ‘Lower Crackpot’!
If you are heading up to Cradle Mountain, chances are you will probably pass through this area on your way to the high country.
Just reading some of the pioneering history is a fascinating journey.
Whenever I go down to see my father who unfortunately is in a nursing home these days, suffering from virulent old age, I spend hours driving around the countryside looking for images that reflect the beauty of this area. Even if I come back with nothing,it is time well spent!
I know the framing is a bit basic but it is a work in progress!
The three images here are of a place called Talbot Bay, home of the famous Horizontal Waterfalls.
Geologically, this area is pretty interesting. Flying over and cruising around here, one can see evidence of the tremendous forces that were exerted upon this landscape millions of years ago that stagger belief.
The strata is tilted,bent and twisted on a scale that makes you feel pretty small in the scheme of things!
Add to this some of the largest tidal movements in the country and you have a landscape that really grabs your attention!
These are a couple of shots of a unique little spot in the wilderness. Comprised of nearly pure silica, it’s like the Whitehaven of the Kimberley but smaller!
As the water is reasonably clear it is one of very few places that it is relatively safe to swim in saltwater and the rock formations surrounding it are amazing.
Even the wildlife likes it, we pulled up one day to find a small croc getting a suntan. He disappeared mumbling “Bloody tourists….!”
I’m going to back track a little here. If you have been following the blogs of Christian Fletcher and True North Mark you will have seen some great images of the Kimberley Coast.
I was very surprised to see that neither posted an image of what I consider to be one of the most spectacular sights along this coastline, the entrance to the Hunter River.
It’s a little difficult to get a sense of the size of these two peaks but believe me they dominate the landscape! No official names that I know of, but variously known as the Ninepins or Indian Hd. If you look at the right hand one you can see the face in it.
The next image is another rockscape taken on a beach near here.
You could spend a lifetime photographing the rock formations along this coast!
These are a couple of images of a place called Myridi Bay in Yampi Sd. The first one is some amazing cliffs that change colour as the sun sets on them. If you look closely you will see some bending in the rock strata. There are even more extreme examples around this area that make your jaw drop when you think about the forces involved!
The second image is what you see next morning on the other side of the inlet. Polarising filters come in handy up this way.
As I mentioned in my last post, this landscape looks like it could all falll down with a good sneeze! This is in an image taken at Steep Island that shows how it is all being slowwly whittled away. Some of the rocks that have fallen off the cliff are big! I saw even bigger falls in places, would not want to be underneath them……….
On another note, I have just checked out some images posted by Christian Fletcher and Mark Stothard. Nice! That is the beauty of photography, we all see things differently!
Even though the Kimberley is an ancient landscape, if you look closely, it resembles a stack of loosely piled dominoes at times. Huge rock slides and falls are commonplace and you get to thinking that a decent earth tremor would bring the whole show tumbling down!
Around the tidal level, the sea has carved some amazing sculptures into the sandstone that makes up this land/seascape.
This was one I found early one morning in a place called Yorke Sound. I only had a short time ashore and was surrounded by some surreal rockscapes. I can well understand how the aboriginal people revered this land!