Saturday Evening Post #20: A Piece of Paper

It was only a small piece of paper, about 75mm square (2 1/2x 2 1/2 inches to be precise).

It was sitting on the bench top, vivid in its whiteness against the dark top.
Next to it sat three small plastic trays. Each contained a clear fluid.

I was given a small pair of metal tongs and told to pick up the paper and place it in the first tray. I did.

It sat on the top of the liquid and surface tension took over and it stayed floating only partially submerged. “Push it under”.  I did.

A clock with big hands started to tick the background.

And.  Nothing much else happened.

And after about a minute as I peered at the wet paper under the orange glow of the ‘safelight’, a faint change began to occur. Light grey blurs began to appear, and slowly they became shapes and the shapes took on form and tone, and eerily out of the white paper a photo of “Blackie” our cat, began to emerge.

After the clock ticked off its time, I transferred, Blackie, with a considerable reverence, into the second and then the third trays.  Several minutes later, “Mind your eyes, ” Dad said, and the room lights were turned on. And there sitting in the dish was indeed a photograph of Blackie. And, more importantly for the moment, one that I had produced.

I was hooked. At around 12 years of age, my life, as they say—changed, and a direction for life was set.  I not only wanted to know, I knew that I wanted to know more about this fascinating process that could make white paper into a real photograph.

It was a contact print from a negative that I’d made some days before.  And, yet, it was,in all its monochrome glory, a Photograph.

I had to know.  And in a small country town, I knew where to look.
The local library.

The journey continues.

Enjoy a great week.

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This is Thomas, my nextdoor neighbour’s cat. Tom used to come for visits and would sit in the sunshine on the window sill of the front of the house and watch the garden. Thomas is a rich ginger cat. Guess which colour filter I used to bring out the best in his rich ginger markings. I’ve resisted adding a tonal colour.

 

(The negative of Blackie the cat is long gone.)
The Header shot is pretty much a direct B+W conversion from colour.  No clever stuff, just Tom and I would spend lots of time working window lighting for effect.

 

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Snapshots: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Well not quite, but I went down early this morning as the light looked like being great, and promised to be back ‘soon’, but stayed a bit longer.
EE has done a fetlock, or pulled a ‘hammie”, and is a bit out of circulation at the moment, so I set off on me lonesome, hoping the sunshine might stay.

The Lady was in residence by the time I arrived, and was no doubt looking for breakfast.  She had several attempts but missed, then stretched out upriver and within a few minutes returned with a sizeable fish.

Bathed in early morning sunlight
I’m really getting a feel for her contrasted against the cliffs behind
The first swing and miss for the morning. Have to say I really thought she was on a winner here
A second attempt.
The tail kicks up and must give her some extra speed
Another miss.
Plenty of light to make the water sparkle
The fantastic head shake that flings off all the excess water
A mintue later and she was back with a fish
There was a young family in the carpark, and their baby cried. The long stare took it all in
And there goes the last of the tail. All done at that.

Saturday Evening Post #19 : Becoming a Beginner Again

Went to a talk the other night by a birding expert, Sean Dooley. One of the things he spoke about resonated with me as I’d just been pondering the way photography has affected my life, even from the time I was a young’un.

He told a tale of how as a a little tacker, he’d been watching and recording birds for a while in his local swamp at Seaford.  One day a bird landed, that was not of the usual residents.  He immediately knew it to be a Glossy Ibis. A bird that only migrated down on occasions and while not rare, was at least unusual for his area.  He explained the excitement he felt, first in finding or seeing the bird, and then in knowing what it was, and in knowing something about it from his studies.  That excitement was what drove him to spend a year long project seeing as many birds in Australia as possible.  He then wrote a book.

Steve Jobs is reputed to have said, after being fired from Apple the first time, “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”

My current mentor has got me thinking along those same lines.  What is it like to be committed to the photograph, not just the process, but the excitement of making the image.

To becoming a beginner again and being committed to the photograph itself, and in turn not letting the subject down.

There is of course a number of sides to this commitment.
Here’s another.

Being in the field is a profound experience.  It’s what makes bird photography such a noble pursuit. It isn’t just the photography that matters, nor bringing back a technically perfect image. But, rather being out in the field that shapes our souls. To take the time to listen, look, and to see. It’s what makes it difficult and at the same time its such a deep experience.
It’s not about the trophy shot, but about learning to sit and contemplate the beautiful mysteries of life.

Gotta go, I’ve a day in the field ahead. Time to become a beginner again.

Eloise bedecked in late aftenoon light. The shape and tone of the simplification to monotone adds its own element.

Snapshots: An Eloise Collection

Enough of this photography vision inspired techno mumbo jumbo.
How about some photographs.

Good point.

As I rack up harddiskfulls of Osprey pictures, it getting hard to put them all on Flickr.
I know there is way to make project pages here on WordPress, however I just can’t figure out how to make it work the way I want. But the story telling of the blog suits my photo journalism style I think, so I’ll persevere a bit longer.

In the meantime here is a few so that you don’t miss out.

Enjoy

Gotta Love that intense look
Balancing
This is like a layup in basketball, straight onto the perch
A hit and miss. One fish that got the chance of another day
Sometimes photographers talk about “Pre-visualising the image” it’s an Ansel Adams term. Here I more ‘pre-willed’ as I knew she was swinging up, and was lucky she chose the small shaft of light through the trees.
Soft melded light that just reeks character
Take away food
A big wing stretch before leaving
Swinging up in the even light
Soft evening light enhances the colours
A really tight turn with the head held level
Sometimes the poetry just happens in the best light

 

 

Saturday Evening Post #18: For the Love of the Photograph

Sorry about the unsharp image, my fault really, shot it with a Teleconverter attached. <VBG> 🙂

Been having a few interesting discussions with the photofraternity of late, and one of the things pointed out is how unreliable Teleconverters are, and the Nikon 2.0eII in particular. After all, as was explained to me, “All the forums agree that the Nikon TC2.0eII is unreliable, and unsharp”.

My defense of course was a shrug of the shoulders and pat the TC 2.0 on the 300 f/2.8 I was using at the time and saying I was happy with the results. Which probably would have bought fits of laughter, but a bird turned up and everybody swung in to action to capture a 4 pixel size image of the bird about 70metres away.  But, I consoled myself at least they would be sharp pixels, unlike my less than ideal results. 😉

I recall a quote by David DuChemin, “I make photographs, I don’t take them, shoot them, capture them or snap them. I do what I do to see the world differently and to show others what I see and feel. And yes. It did look like that when seen through my eyes, mind and heart.

The tools of my craft are the camera and lens.  The tools of my art are my passion, and vision. It’s not how we make our photographs that matters but what we make of them. The camera and lens is irrelevant to the pursuit of beauty, and authenticity. It’s how I see the light,  chase the wonder and bring it to life. There is too much to see and create to waste time.”

So, I guess I’ll just have to put up with losing sharpness because of my persistence in using such inferior equipment that can’t pass the ‘pixel peeping test’.

Just for the record, the image is handheld, 300mm f/2.8 +TC 2.0e at 600mm equivalent (angle of view). D500, on an overcast day.

The header image is from the camera JPEG. The trailer image converted via  Adobe Camera Raw  7.1. Wasn’t trying for an exact match, rather two interpretations.

Sorry they aren’t sharper.

Can’t imagine how good they would have looked if I’d been using a Canon 600mm with stacked converters from 70 metres away. 🙂

Back to sanity next week—normal transmissions will resume.

Seeya Along the Track

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Atmospherics

It rained overnight. Not a lot really, we were promised a deluge, but like all good weather cells, some places were more fortunate than others.  And the weather prognosticators, of the tv weather. in their usual scramble to spread fear and anxiousness among the masses were predicting a morning that would have made Noach tremble in his galoshes.

We, EE and I were keen—insert obsessed—with going back out and seeing Eloise, and as I had an early morning appointment, we figured on an early start and then home for breakfast. Good plan.
Weather looked pretty nice with stars asparkling in the rich blue predawn sky. But by the time we’d pulled into the parking area, an ominous dark cloud was rolling in behind. However because of the rain, and the heat, what we also had was the area festooned in mist. Everywhere. and the photographer was beginning to lament leaving the landscape lens at home.

Eloise must have had similar Osprey thoughts about the weather and she didn’t turn up until about an hour and a half after sunup.  Caught a glimpse of her wafting through the mists. She sat on the furtherest tree and showed no sign of going fishing. We concluded she must have eaten an early breakfast elsewhere today.

But in the meantime the mists and the birds in the area were a pleasant interlude.

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The mist lay a carpet of pearl across the landscape
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Lack of light and high ISO were the order of the day.
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White birds on pearl
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Eloise coming out of the mists
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The Royal Spoonbill decided to sleep in.
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Even when a burst of sunshine came, the Spoonbill carried on
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Eloise perched a long way from our camera point
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The Dusky Moorhens were happy with a fresh supply coming down on the river
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No wonder the mists lingered. The air was still, the water mirror smooth

Snapshots: Learning the Fine Art of Fishing

or:  Eloise Does Fast-food Breakfast.

You knew it was coming right? Of course you did.

With such a bird in the vicinity, and the possibility of her taking a fish sometime when I was there, it was too much not to expect I’d sacrifice a couple of hours sleep, and go down to K Road Cliffs in the early morning.  EE had somewhat offhandedly remarked that perhaps I should sleep down there in the car.

So armed with the ever reliable D810 and the 300mm f/2.8 and TC2.0, I set out.  The only thing that made the plan look less than successful was the weather. Overcast. Porridge. Classic 3200ISO weather.

I found her sitting high in a tree overlooking the horseshoe bend and its big fishing hole.  The tide was at the end of running in high, and that seems to be her preferred time.
So I waited. Did I mention that lack of light.  I’m not a great high iso at any cost person, but it was high or go home, and I took the former not the latter option.

And waited. So did she.

Here’s the long sequence.  Enjoy

 Eloise was sitting high above the river on a favoured perch.

A first strike

 The next attempt.  What I learned from all this is that she prefers to hunt close to the river bank. Each strike was only a few metres from the edge.  I’m not sure if that makes it easier to see the fish or if the fish work close along the river bank

  Tail up and grappling hooks going down

 I put this not so good one in to see how close she runs to the edge. Another miss

 Back up to the far bank. Here is part of the high cliffs on K Road. They sometimes appear in movie and tv dramas.

 Another try another miss

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The look and the wingspread say it allAnd away for another attempt

I missed the strike, but here it’s possible to see how close to the edge she is working

Gathering the energy for extraction

I’ve included this as I love that just over the wing view.  However the fish is not coming out without a fight.

Sinking back in to try again

WIngs spread out, she spent a few seconds regathering her strength and perhaps rearranging the fish underneath for better lift

Swing and away

Now to find a quiet spot of enjoy breakfast

A little later some Whistling Kites thought they could freeload so she took off again with her half-eaten prize.

 

Saturday Evening Post #17 Along the Track with Crosbie Morrison

When I was a mere broth of a lad, and photography was something my Mum did with the family box camera, there was a radio show on a Sunday Evening on our local radio station.
We didn’t google, facebook, instagram or snapchat. Stange as that may sound, and we didn’t have an endless range of tv programmes to watch, we didn’t even have tv.  We had Radio.

On Sunday Evening “Along the Track” with Crosbie Morrison would take  a young lad on a journey into some form of the natural history.  Interestingly enough, at the height of his popularity, and it was syndicated all over Australia, its been estimated that he had a listener base of 75% of the radios in australia. (how one determines such number crunching, ohhh and ahh, is beyond me. 1/125 of a second at f/16 still amazes me!)

From possums, to crocodiles, blue wrens to electricity generation, we all went along the Track with Morrison and dreamed big bold dreams.

Did his talks bring out the inquisitive, insightful need to know about things in natural history.  Who knows, but I do remember being glued to the radio as he explained about a spider that someone had sent him in a matchbox, or the migratory skill of birds around the world.  David Attenborough is as close as the tv audience of today gets to that. But, and this I think is where radio was so adept. Without the visuals.  We explored it all in the theatre of our mind.

One thing that legacy still holds for me, is an interest in even the most common of creatures.

I was fascinated last evening while working with some wader and sandpipers, of how long, long, long the legs of a Pied Stilt are.  Normally see them knee-deep in water and its  hard to appreciate the length of those long pink legs.
This one graced me by wading out of the shallows and standing on the water’s edge long enough for me to make a frame.

Enjoy

Snapshots: Hangin’ out the Sheets with Eloise

This gracious lady is currently settled in to the K Road Cliffs area at Werribee.  There is a horseshoe bend in the river and it obviously suits her fishing style. Not being a fishing sort of person, I don’t understand how the fish run up the estuary but suspect now, that it is more likely on the turn of the tide as the water flow out. Today that would have happend around sunup, and most likely she had hunted on the early morning light.
By  the time we, and 10 or so of our new close personal friends, rocked up after breakfast, she was well fed and/or the fish had gone as she showed little inclination for hunting.

However she did manage to make the photographers smile. On a tree close to the river edge, and in full sunlight.

So given an appreciative audience, she ran through the entire preening process, making sure every feather had a lick, and was back in the right place.  By 10:30 am, it was all over she packed up the sheets, took a long stretch and headed up river for her own reasons.

I thought I’d post a small selection, as I can quickly see that I am going to end up with days of work that don’t get sorted nor published.

So prepare for a few more blogs as the days progress.

Enjoy.

Hangin’ out the Sheets

One of my favourite activites with raptors is that ‘zipping’ up of the tail feathers.
A quick shake and all are back in place

 

After stiting in the hot sun for several hours she was panting and drooping out her wings
She is folding up the sheets, and I rather like the look of the power and depth of the wings shown here.
Time to turn around. A delicate process and a test of balance and wing work
A final big stretch of wings, tail, body and legs. It must be time to go

 

Feathers, feet and tail hard at work to regain equilibrium

 

Saturday Evening Post #16 The Violin and the Camera

Came across a quote from David DuChemin the other day—yes, I’m still reading his book(s).

“For most of us we picked up the camera because putting the viewfinder to out eye and expressing ourselves through the photo was the most magical thing ever”.
Of course he is talking to photographers that may not have the same background, intent or purpose that i have when I go out to photograph birds.  Yet, at one level, looking through the viewfinder and see the amazing actions, beauty and story of these feathered creatures applies in some way.

Sometimes it getting the best possible technical picture of the bird, sometimes its the challenge of making the hardware perform, or using the right technique or choosing the right sliders in the software to enhance our meagre vision.

But, in the same way that a violin does not play the music itself, a camera does not make a photo by itself. Yet sometimes as photographers we begin to think the new camera, lens or software will finally give us the golden images in our journey. i wonder if the master violinist would treat their beloved instrument the same way we seem to deal with our technology.
“Oh, look there is a new 10megamusic  violin, and it comes with built-in memory.” Every musician rushes for the new instrument.  “Hey, look they’ve just released a 24megmusic model, its got bluetooth and dynamic range speakers” Suddenly last year’s model is not longer being played.  “Announcing the breathtaking new highly advanced 46megmusic with interchangeable neck and internet upload capability.”
The skill of the master musician is not only in the music, but also in their use of the instrument. A new model does not make up for the many years of patient, dedicated and sometimes exhausting practice that they have put in to hone their craft. To make it art.

So I ponders, to meself, and then to blogosphere, and of course you dear, suffering reader, why will the next great breakthrough in camera technology increase the hit rate I get.  Or should I instead be working on resonance with my subject.  Self-answering question.

As someone once said, “If I’m more interested in the destination than the journey, I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t get there immediately, and disappointed when I do.”

The Tao master Lao Tzu said it this way, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Forget the end result When you arrive, you’ll start a new journey”, or something pretty similar to those words. 🙂
Nature it seems never forces anything to grow.   Yes step by step, tiny bug, by tiny bug, the juvenile Dusky Woodswallow will emerge as an adult. Ready to start its own journey of discovery.

Good luck.

 

 

High Day in Elegance

I received a note from my Flickr mate David Nice. “An Osprey has been seen feeding at K Road Cliffs”.

So I dropped plans of going to look for snipe the following morning and loaded up to go to K Road.

As soon as I got out of the car, I heard two distinct ‘Tcluck’ calls and figured she must be there somewhere.

But despite looking with the Binos from the carpark, I couldn’t get a spotting anywhere.  Was just about to think of walking down along the river, when the remainder of the morning shift turned up.  David, Gilbert and his friend all dragged out the big lenses and we began the search.
After about 15 minutes we were still none the wiser, but I spotted a Nankeen Night Heron leaving the water and taking to the tall gums alongside the cliffs.  And as they say, “A night-heron in the tree is better than an osprey you can’t find”, so we went to have a look. After a few average shots, we walked the little extra along the edge and down some steps, and someone spotted the osprey in the tree on the far bank.  Took a bit to work out among the various branches and twigs. But.

Yes, there she is. Fish in claw, and enjoying a freshly caught breakfast.

The rest of the story is pretty much boring. 3 hours just goes so fast, we sat, and stood alongside the river edge as she polished off the fish, polished up her feathers and took a little nap to let the meal go down.

We had been working most of the morning with rather average overcast light, and by late morning, the sun began to break through and her true colours became evident.

No doubt this is the same bird from previous seasons, and as the mullet are running up the river, it must be a fair assumption that this bird follows the shoals of fish. And of course it raises so many questions about where she is during the year, does she have a mate, or is she a ‘single girl’.

But what  pleasure to have such a lovely lady to work with. No doubt as the short season moves on we’ll have a few opportunities to work with her in action, and do some portrait sessions.
So be ready for a stream of blogs featuring the fine lady Eloise.

Enjoy.

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Hello, welcome back fine lady
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Looking for a table with a view to enjoy breakfast
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That will do nicely
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Toe tapping to relieve the pressure on the muscles
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A wing stretch and dangling out the grappling irons
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Airborne
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Time to go. And then I looked at my watch and 3 hours had disappeared.

 

 

 

Postcards: Confessions of a Serial Event Attender

Our friends in the Conservation Dept. at Hobson’s Bay City Council, were running a bus tour through the Cheetham Wetlands.  An area that is off limits to public use. We, Mr An Onymous and I had secured seats, so rocked up early to be sure we’d not miss a moment.

As I was entering the Point Cook Coastal Park, carpark, I noted a Brown Falcon at rest in a usual lookout spot.  It was quite close to where they had nested earlier in the season, so it was good to make a reacquaintance.

 

The rest of our group turned up, some new faces, and several other friends.  I’m beginning to feel like a Serial Event Attender. Open the gates, and I walk on in.

Bernie the local Parks Vic ranger was on hand to guide us about for the day, and to explain lots of the interesting parts of the former Cheetham Salt Works.  The need to control the water flow through the old ponds is a major part of his work, and it’s always interesting to learn how he works out the levels.
We also had the chance to meet Cristal from Latrobe Uni who is running a programme with the Red-capped Plovers that not only roost in the area, but in spite of what appears harsh conditions regularly nest on the salt flats over summer.  Her programme at present is working out the various calls between the parents and the chick in the egg. Cristal, (hope I got the spelling right), has all sorts of high end recording equipment out with the nest sites across the area.  She was happy to announce that several young had been successfully hatched in the past few days.

So we set off. Andrew, our ‘uber driver’ at the wheel

We stopped at the ford that separates the salt water of from the ocean and the freshwater run off from Skeleton Waterholes Creek, (both the Skeleton and Waterholes part of the name have a most interesting history, but for another day) . There had been reports of an Australian Spotted Crake, in the area. Andrew had thoughtfully provided a great Nikon Spotting Scope, and not only was I keen to try it, I was trying to work out a way how to smuggle it home!

I’d set it up, and was just beginning to scan the creek line, and the first thing I saw was THE CRAKE.  The image of grown man, leaning over a scope, jumping up and down yelling, THE CRAKE, THE CRAKE, is probably worth forgetting.
Leaving the scope in more capable hands I moved off with the Sigma Sport 150-600 (yes, I still have it) and tried for a photo.(and I noted, that Andrew was quick to retrieve said scope and secure it back in the van, before I left anymore fingerprints for possible Id, should an equipment register review ever be necessary 🙂 Mind Mr An and I did a little preventative maintenance to the tripod attachment so that should count for something in our favour. 🙂

 

There were, further along a good number of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint and Bernie assured us large number of Curlew Sandpiper, although that must have been yesterday.

A Singing Honeyeater obliged with some good views, and it’s fair to conclude it was feeding young nearby.

Another pass by the creekline and we spotted a wader that took few minutes to id correctly.  A Common Sandpiper.  The flash of white under the wing being the best id.

Its easy to see how well they blend into the surrounds.

 

At the beach line Andrew discusses with Rob the finer points of sand distribution by wave action.  Interestingly enough Bernie indicated some rocks, now 30-40 metres from the current land edge, that around 30 years ago were on the coastline.

On the return journey we found several pairs of Red-capped Plover with young.This one had called the young into the bushes along side the road and was directing things from the safety of a nearby rock. We admired her babysitting abilities and moved on quickly. This one, I find particularly interesting as neither of the pair were banded

Thanks to Andrew, Bernie, and the team for allowing us to enter this fascinating area. Each trip always brings new insights.  Also thanks to the various councils, government groups and such like that made such an event possible.  The value of the area, as the housing developments keep getting closer, is even more important for the small birds that call it home.

 

Saturday Evening Post #15 Enjoying the Beautiful Moment

Been reading Ming Thein’s blog over the years. He has had a pretty rough year one way and another, and lamented the need to consider life beyond his photographic endevours.

His New Year’s Resolutions always make for challenging thoughts.

This one among other things makes a bold statement, “Few pros last longer than ( 5 years), and almost all the ones I’d met that had were really quite jaded and uncreative by that point – it was just a job”  Now I’m not going to take on his observation, and it’s important it is read in context.
But it got me to wondering.

We all go through creative periods when the juices seem to dry up and its hard to come up with a new challenge or vision.
I’m also reading some David DuChemin books at the moment, and as he went through a huge accident, was in hospital for quite a number of months in intense pain with the possibility of never walking again, I think there is little cross connection with Ming’s insights.

David says, “If you don’t love photography for the sheer act of trying to express yourself and will only find joy in it when youre a finally there, yours will be a most disappointing journey. Not only will you never get there, but you’ll miss how beautiful and exhilarating the journey itself is.

If you love the journey so much that you wish it had no  ultimate destination, you are in luck. It doesn’t have to.”

I had my first published picture when I was 14. The following two years I did several photo essay jobs. One I actually got paid to travel. And somewhere blind fate stepped in, and blinded, I took another direction in my life. And I reckon, looking back at everyone I know well, the same thing could be said to a degree or another.

But the one thing that never changed I believe was the excitement of “pressing the button to make the moment”. Sometimes just looking through the viewfinder in an inquistive way is enough.

And there we were in Ballaratt. Hot overcast day, with a Great Crested Grebe that seemed happy to bob and paddle around close to us.  Should have been a 10 second shot. Aim, focus, set exposure. Wait. Bird turns. Click. Now what’s next?

But.

As the bird moved back and forth, a whole new world of images began to open up. Shadows, reflections, shapes, settings, all seemed to roll by in an endless view.
So we sat. I posted quite a selection from that half hour or so, yesterday.  But some of them I had already visualised beyond a simple record.  It’s that kind of journey.

Feeling jaded.  Not a bit. Feeling it was a job. No. It’s a journey. A bit like the movie, “The Never Ending Story Part II” —See, I’m amused by a never-ending story that had to have a sequel 🙂

David D again. “Vision is everything you think, feel, and bring to the photograph.  You don’t bring it. It brings you. It’s your view of the world.”

A quick trip into Nik Silver Effects Pro, find a suitable blend of my favourite cool filter, Cyanotype, (Used to make them in real photochemistry in another life).
And there it is.

A beautiful moment in a fantastic journey.  I’m not going to reach the destination anytime soon.

Keep takin’ pictures.  We do.

More on a life in monochrome and my affair with Silver Effects Pro  next week.

Ballaratt Grebe

We had to take a trip to Ballaratt on important business, that involved laying down money, (well credit card numbers to be more exact). Was only going to take 5 minutes, and EE suggested that Mr An Onymous might like a trip out for the day.
So let’s see.
Let’s choose the hottest day of the week for the hour or so  journey, and let’s go late morning to be sure we get the maximum benefit from the heat.
EE had allowed us at least a few minutes to ‘cool off by the lake’, and who knows we might find something to photograph.
‘Nuff Said.

Clever as, she also arranged a nice stop over for coffee at Ballan on the way up.  And wouldn’t you know it. How Do these things happen?  There was a fine looking clothing and jewellery store right next to said Coffee Shop, called the “Tin Plate” (here’s a link) for any who might want to follow in the tracks of such adventure. So while Mr A and I lamented over the fact that all the vanilla slice had been sold for the day, and an empty plate where a slice might have been wasn’t going to make up for it, EE was just a shop away shopping.

On to Ballaratt. It does seem somewhat incongruous to leave Melbourne in a pleasant 26C and head off into 37C, to Ballaratt. The place most folk would have on their list of cold places to visit. But there you go. Outside temp was well on the way, as were we.  Gotta love GPS and Sat Nav. Punch in the address and think no more about it.  Found myself on the way into the city, going, “If I was going to Dublin, I wouldn’t be starting from here,” but in the end circuitous or not we arrived.

The original plan had been lunch by the lake, but what with the heat, and that we were just around the corner from Wendouree Village, the lure of an air-conditioned sandwich bar was too much to resist.
But, by the time we’d lunched and chatted, and discussed the merits of Nikon AF focus, and how to use the old ‘Sunny 16 Rule’ of long-gone-bye filum days, the weather had changed to severely overcast, and the said rule was not going to be much help.
At the lakeside it was a distinct murky grey, (but still hot- now the clouds were keeping the heat in), and we’d dropped about 4-5 stops of light.

And most of the usual suspects were there.  We quickly located the pair of Great Crested Grebe, and one immediately took off down the lake to places far from human interference.  The other just lolled about snoozing among the reeds and grasses.

Here’s a selection from its activities.  Played a bit with the mono style as both the day and the surrounds had that sort of mood about them.

And if case anyone is wondering, the temp dropped about 15 degrees on the way home, and we arrived in pleasant cool(ish) conditions.
Enjoy

Is this my best side?
Awesome reflections needed just the right positioning, and it was rewarding to have the Grebe choose the best spots.
It was good to have a cooperative subject that offered so many interesting poses, moods and settings.
In the end, with so many interesting settings, what was going to be a few minutes lasted near an hour
Mighty mono to Selenium tone to set a cool mood
It is so tiring snoozing it makes you yawn.
When they tuck up like this and bob up and down they remind me of a little kid’s toy boat.