Saturday, 28 February 2015

Day 59 2015: Clarinets on tour...

Day 59: the Crow flies

You might recall, dear reader, I spend some Saturdays rehearsing in a clarinet choir. I think I've mentioned it once or thrice. And then occasionally we go out to give concerts. Mostly we go to retirement villages or nursing homes but our reputation is growing and sometimes we go further afield. 

Today was one of those trips. A return to Crow's Nest, west of Brisbane, about two and a half hours by bus, including a short stop along the way. 

Crow's Nest got its name from a local Aboriginal man, known as Jimmy, who used a tree as a dwelling, and was known to all and sundry as the man who knew everything. There is a striking memorial to him on the township's central park. 

Jimmy Crow and his 'Nest'

The rest of the town has that lovely country town feel about it, that rural feeling a visiting city person like me gets, thinks briefly 'how great to live here...', then thinks...then does the concert and gets back on the bus. 

Streetscape 1

Nolan Building, now Antique, in more ways than one

Shire Council turned Art Gallery

Streetscape 2

A door, to a pub


Was a pic of a galah, then the PO got in the way

Gimme shelter from a storm


I enjoy photographing country towns. Oh, wait, dear reader. I guess I photograph just about everything really. I had time for two goes today, once after the short top-and-tail* rehearsal (*sounding like a boss musician) and once more before we hopped back on the bus. Quite different lighting conditions. 

The audience seemed to enjoy and appreciate our efforts. And they always turn on a great lunch and afternoon tea. I'm sure we'll be back. I certainly had fun with the cam. Thanks to the good burghers of Crow's Nest.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 12.20pm-12.53pm; 3.46pm-3.59pm]

Friday, 27 February 2015

Day 58 2015: Butterflies are free...

Day 58: ...the loris will take payment in birdseed

Work at home day. I realised that this year will be busy with teaching, researching, studying, writing, concerting, play-ing...etc etc. And etc etc. Fridays will be busy from now on too. Not that they haven't been of course, just differently busy for a year or so. 

There has also been a lot of talk about the explosion of butterflies in recent weeks. Perhaps it is a combination of wet weather, humidity, heat. A few months ago we were talking about the lack of butterflies. But they were everywhere today in the duranta erecta. I spotted a few different ones. 

Including a hitherto elusive blue triangle butterfly...

For starters, bit of a shy one...

All legs down for landing

Delicate lightness of being, really

The blue triangle

Orange, amber, brown 
And spotted by my neighbour...
Common Eggfly, female, apparently

Ordinary name for an extraordinary butterfly really

Pretending to be a leaf...a lemon migrant 

Farewell to blue triangles
The loris who also like to fly by, paused for their afternoon feed too.

Erm 'scuse us...
Yep, here thanks...
Oh, there, cheers
Interlopers on a butterfly free flying day. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 3.19pm-4.40pm; 122 photos taken, whittled down to this selection. Some days, it is very hard.]

Day 57 2015: Ibis everywhere man...

Day 57: Ibis everywhere...

The poor old ibis. It is considered the modern scavenger of the 'burbs. Great flocks inhabit South Bank intriguing visitors, annoying locals, invading everyone's space. Where are they supposed to be, if not at South Bank?

On my campus I think. For many years, as I've walked to and from my car to my office each day, I've always marvelled a small island on the lake. Some days it is completely white, filled with ibis. I've always thought, one day, dear reader, I should like to take a pic of that. 

And so it came to pass for today's pics, that I happened to have the big cam in the car, and there was just enough light left to play with the shutter speeds and ISO. 

Here they are, in a 'natural' habitat*. 

I think they're all at South Bank


Fly like an...ibis


Duck! (Not an ibis)

It was fascinating really, just watching them come and go, the hierarchy of who sits where and how, the squawking...looked just like the machinations of an institution with which I am familiar in a place not too far from here...

*I had a chat with a camera-wielding gent on campus yesterday. We've chatted before, I've been attracted to his kit: a beautiful set of cameras, lenses,'s envy, dear reader, envy, pure and green. He's been photographing the wildlife on campus for a few years now. He tells me there are 108 species of birds that inhabit the area. One hundred and eight! He's captured all but three. Fascinating.

[Camera : EOS 60D, 70-300mm, 6.38-6.46pm]

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Day 56 2015: Last waves...

Day 56: ...waves waves goodbye

After setting myself the aim of getting to the beach at least once a week after work, I realised today is likely to be the last time for a while. It was fun while it lasted. Next week classes commence. I'll be teaching a couple of evenings, I have commitments on other evenings. And next week I return to the student side of the desk myself. I join thousands of other students around the country in postgraduate coursework on the way to a Masters in Education. It's a long'll be hearing about it I reckon. 

Anyway, there are classes for the next five or so weeks, on Wednesday evenings. Yes, dear reader, on what has become our Moffat Beach evening with fish and chips. I thought I best make the most of the last evening for a while.

Last waves, with clouds
Waves and wash



I got down there quite a bit later than anticipated, and the surfers weren't crowding out the waves quite as much. Turned out to be a low light, high-speed (ISO 4000) experimental evening. Got some interesting slow motion waves...

So we wave goodbye for now, but we'll be back soon, at some point, hopefully Moffat point. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 70-300mm, 6.51-6.54pm] 

Day 55 2015: I think I can...

Day 55:'ll make it mate

If there is one thing about the stroll from the car park to the office that brings a lightness of step, it has to be the mobs of kangas we have on campus. They are 'wild' as in not tame or domesticated in any way so we do have to be a little cautious but seriously, it is hard not to have good feelings about our kangas. 

The joeys are growing up and all over campus we see them trying to stand on their own two feet, as it were...

Mate, that's not how it works, that's not how you stand up...

...or not quite. I knew how this little one felt. I bet that tail gets in the way until you work out how it works.

A little further along at least one kanga seemed to show a little concern, or was perhaps more alert to the fruit-fone-wielding homo sapiens approaching...caution, on the wind.

Settle petal, it'll pass

It's not all cute furry animals on campus however, dear reader. I don't want you thinking I work in a zoo...oh, hang on. No, not really. Later in the afternoon, I went for a walk to take a break from the computer-boundedness that has become my job. I was, for the first time in years, swooped by the blasted nesting masked lapwings (or plovers as we knew them when I was growing up). Didn't have my camera on me either to make the swoop worthwhile. Damn and blast.

[Camera : iPhone 6, 9.05am]

Day 54 2015: Blue skies...

Day 54: ...albeit with clouds

Yes, work. Time is consumed in a different way on campus compared with other places. One arrives, walks the eight minutes to the office--day disappears somewhere--it is time to walk back to the car. The walk back tends to take a little longer. Dragging one's tired feet perhaps. 

One tries to see the positive. One tries to run with the current trend of 'blue sky thinking'.

Blue skies, white clouds

But it seems all the skies are presently filled with all the clouds, at least that was the view as I waited for a colleague with whom I share the drive back to Brisbane. I suspect it was the remnants of our cyclonic visitor of the last few days. Or not. 

Actually, as much as I like the clear blue sky, photographically-speaking, I do love a cumulus spread just as much. I think I have previously noted, dear reader, I once thought of having a project 365 devoted to clouds. Not cloudy thinking at all, just marvelling at what sits above. 

[Camera : iPhone 6, 4.30pm]

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Day 53 2015: After all is said and done...

Day 53: ...laugh, kookaburra, laugh.

It is said we have a wry sense of humour when it comes to natural disasters here in Queensland. The morning after the cyclone wandered off the Coast, there was sunlight, smashed buildings, flooded roads, and the 'it'll be OK' attitude we tend to take on these things. 

Yesterday, dear reader, you will recall it was the time of the lorikeets. Early this morning, it was time for the kookaburras, not so much sitting in the old gum tree...

Shake a tail feather...

Eye of the kooka

...but on the back veranda, looking at me...

Laugh, or else...
...and me looking at them. They are magnificent birds and they can only help to make us 'laugh, kookaburra, laugh'. And yes, it is a tune we all grew up with and one that is part of our national culture. It belongs to all of us.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 7.19am, 7.31am]

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Day 52 2015: How wet...?

Day 52: ...ten loris wet...

Queensland's wet season continues. While yesterday's devastated northern regions awoke to sunshine and broken structures, the southeastern parts were copping a further deluge, part separate trough, part ex-TC tropical low. It rained for much of the day here, and continues to do so. It hasn't made it out west, where it is really needed. Such a Queensland summer thing. 

Of course, only essential travel is recommended. That causes a bit of a dilemma on Saturdays. How essential is a clarinet choir rehearsal, on the other side of the city, a week out from a road trip? Well, frankly, if it weren't for that road trip, I would have erred on the side of unessential. But today, alas, it was necessary. 

People are so stupid on wet weather roads. Heed the advice people, heed the bloody advice! Drive to the conditions

With that out of the way, the other sign of the wet is my lorikeet rain gauge. The loris flock to the shelter of the back verandah, either that, or they've just missed having their photos taken. So here, to make up for their recent absence on these pages, a few select preeners having their feathers ruffled by the wind. Ten in all as the afternoon passed.  

The wind is playing havoc with my feathers

I know, really, not enough product

You scratch my back...


Rainbow lorikeet rainbow, ruffled

Lost all control of dem feathers
Apologies, dear reader, for the monotony and volume but I never tire of them. And yes, these two are our regular photo-philes. They'll be charging me modelling money soon. 

And something else today, rain running down one of the trunks, in a way I rarely see...a mini-cascade. 

The big wet

We wait and see what tomorrow brings...

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm (at 300mm), 1.44pm-1.56pm]

Friday, 20 February 2015

Day 51 2015: Cabin fever...

Day 51:'s Queensland, as we know it

And so today the rains came. One advantage of my job, at this time of the year, is that I can work at home. During the semester when classes are scheduled it is a little harder to do so. So when it is a wet and stormy day with cyclonic conditions and flooding, it is indeed fortunate I don't have to venture too far. 

The wet weather however, can be a bit restrictive. By about midday, one is feeling a little feverish, of the type that comes from being restricted indoors. Nonetheless, one always finds a photo opportunity when one looks. One of my favourite 'Queensland, wet season' pics is the one on the back veranda...the rain gets in, the thongs get wet, the leaves blow around.  

Thongs on the deck, wet, wet, wet

And the roses lift more than the usual dew drops and hold up well under the pelting rain. 

Saturation point

Bigger than dew

We've a few more days of this ahead, but at least I have my books to read and my lectures to write and my articles to draft. And there will always be a photo, or three, to take.

Take care Queensland. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D 28-80mm, 11.49am, 2.15-2.16pm]

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day 50 2015: A milestone...

Day 50: ...of sorts

Yes, day 50. A nice round number. A number that says if I've come this far, I'll keep going this year. What it says about you dear reader, however, having come this far...well, I for one, am most grateful.

There was another milestone of sorts today. For the past twelve months I've been involved with a policy think tank the TJ Ryan Foundation, a group concerned with ensuring good governance and policy development in Queensland. Today was the first anniversary gathering. It as been a privilege to be involved.

The meeting was in the city which meant an opportunity to take a different walk home, well to the bus stop to catch the bus home. And since I was so close to the Gardens, I thought a walk through there, specifically to capture the river and the Story Bridge given we have a cyclone bearing down on the coast. 

Rain a'loomin'
And there were other things as well, but the rain started coming down and I erred on the side of caution and put the cam away. I hovered in a bookshop for a while. 

Platypus a'chillin'
Time to buckle down for the cyclone, with some good books. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 3.40pm-3.42pm]

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Day 49 2015: A new low...

Day 49: the coast

That's Queensland talk for an imminent tropical low or cyclone, and we have one bearing down on the coast as I write. I had planned to take the big cam to Moffat Beach on the way home tonight anyway, but let's face it, from a photographic point of view, I was a bit interested in trying to capture roiling seas and angry clouds. I was expecting some surfers because, dear reader, when I was a surfer 'back in the day', this was the right combination of excellent weather for a surf. 

Turns out, the water wasn't quite as wild as I expected, a bit like last week actually (Day 42), but there were some interesting goings on...

Purveyors of beach moments

Cutting it

Kite-boarding it

Moffat Headland (again, compared with last week...for research purposes)

Tubing it (almost)

Sliding it

Low light, longish exposure, foaming it

Last colours

Last wave
Lots of low light, long exposure work in the end, as well as dodging rain and spray (the things a snapper will do...), the ISO rating around 800-1600 and shutter speeds as low as 1/40 and up to about 1/800. And just for interest sake, I thought I might start adding how many pix I take sometimes just to get to the few posted on the blog. This selection from a total of 86. Yep, so glad I've gone digital...

Seriously, whatever the weather, nothing beats the beach. Oh, and the fish and chips. Did I mention the fish and chips? And two potato scallops...

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 6.34pm-6.48pm]