As EE is becoming much more comfortable with Dolly, we decided on a morning around the Ornamental Lake at Werribee Mansion. The tracks are wellformed and its possible to get close to the action without long walks.
The only part of our plan that was not controllable was the weather, and we ended up with mostly an overcast morning. Also there was little activity at the Lake, perhaps most of the food has diminished and the birds have moved away.
We were sitting on the grass near the lake enjoying a cuppa when an Australasian Darter launched itself out of the water, from between the reeds and waddled up onto the grass. So close that I had to inch back along the grass to get it all in the frame. I guess that I was at grass level, and not standing up, the bird felt comfortable enough to go about its preening and drying business.
So, rather than repeat my rant from the Saturday Evening Post on Dean Collins, here is the few moments as they played out.
“Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,"
What, I said to myself, is the point of having a blog if I don’t post something to it?
So after bumping into Robin Whalley’s site, The Lightweight Photographer, he is all into Mirrorless cameras, get it, light weight!!!! I thought his idea of a current shot with a little bit of ramble seemed like a good way to keep the blog roll rollin’. (think a theme song is in there somewhere, shades of old b&w tv and Rowdy Yates.) Oh, I date myself.
Had a bit of time at the Mansion Lake of recent. And as the evening sun was dropping behind the trees, small shafts of light ran between the wonderful, large, trees, and made great little spot lit openings on a super stage.
All I had to do was call in the talent, and have it fly into the light, and being the obliging bird it is, (This egret is a regular at the Ornamental Lake, and has been on the blog and my Flickr sites on more than a number of occasions.) it did.
BTW, Robin Whalley has some rather useful books and vids on using software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, On One and others. His approach I rather enjoy, and as he is now doing a series on Nik Software, my fav Noise Reduction and Sharpening tools, I guess I’m a bit hooked.
To say we’ve had a run of weather of late would be to guild the lily somewhat. Lack of sunshine, and howling southerly winds have been much more the norm. Add to that the best of fast moving squalls with intense rain, and well, its enough to make you roll over and pull the donnah up even closer.
So with a touch of sunshine peeking through the breakfast room window, EE and I decided on a quick trip to The Office. Image our surprise when we found Mr An Onymous out there as well. Put it down to the call of the Osprey. However she wasn’t in residence so we had to content ourselves with lesser subjects.
I have to say, I’ve never seen a White-faced Heron engaged in a bathing session.
That is until today.
Was working with a couple of Nankeen Night Heron juveniles, and somewhere, you know, way over there, was a White-faced Heron. Not that I was really interested at that distance anyway.
For its own reasons, it waded out into the deeper water, and proceeded to settle down into the water up to the top of its wings. And then it must have rocked back on its wings/tail and stood vertically. Most interesting. Continue reading “Bathing Beauty”→
I suppose that many of us have at one time or another tried to photograph a diving water bird. If for no other reason than the challenge. The problem is they don’t wave flags, or seem to indicate that they are about to dive. Like Pooh bear, they just do.
I was sitting watch a pair at the Werribee Mansion Ornamental Lake the other evening and again the need to try to catch one on plunge overwhelmed me and I started out trying to get that moment. 30 frames later, it was obvious, well at least to me, that said Grebe was pretty slick at getting underwater.
But, the more I watched, the more interesting it all became.
When I was a mere broth of a photographer, and just learning the craft, almost all weddings, portraits and product and advertising photography was done in the Studio. Photographers like D’acre Stubbs specialised in getting just the right light on a product, and Wolfgang Sievers made wonderful detailed industrial photos with dramatic lighting.
And I traded my poor old Super Baldar, 120 folding camera for the chance to learn the craft as a trainee.
We have a small break in the weather, and decided that a coffee at Werribee Mansion would be a good start, and a then a stroll around the gardens. Actually we were both secretly hoping that that the Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos might still be there. But no such luck.
At the slowly draining lake in the gardens, the usual Great Egret and Little-pied Cormorant were in residence. Along with a young Australasian Darter, that seems to have taken up domicile in the tallest of the peppercorn trees by the lake.
Plenty of Superb Fairywrens and a lone Australasian Grebe, and we had a fine day to just relax and to put some practice in with the Nikon 1 gear and the superb 70-300mm zoom.
To be honest, we were just out for the sun, and the afternoon walk.
We had taken the road to The Office, and it was still a quagmire. But at least passable, so we pressed on. And just as well we did. As “Bernie” the Brown Falcon, and “Bernice” were on display in the paddocks. I’d say that they definitely have family matters on the agenda, and it was nice to be able to see them sitting together, and do a few slow laps over the tree tops. Not the usual fast cutting run of a falcon on a mission.
We ambled up to the mansion, and as we settled with the ducks, a Great Egret, and a cuppa of the good Earl of Grey, it I thought I heard the loud noises of some cockatoos in the distance. And within a few minutes, several Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos slipped through the trees.
Pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but when I was a little tacker, we had in our limited home library several small books by an American writer and self-styled genius, Elbert Hubbard.
Hubbard’s collection were titled, Little Journey’s to the homes of the Great and near-Great, as best I remember. I was later to find there was at least a dozen or more of them, and each contained an article he had published, regularly, perhaps once a month, and it contained both, as I was to discover later, both historical fact, and romantic nonsense of his own creation about each of the ‘Famous’ visits.
And such strange names and places for a young lad more interested in frogs, and beetles and chocolate. But none the less, I can recall, somewhat sagely, being read some of these stories as a little dude
, sitting wide-eyed in bed, before ‘lights out’.
So today, for want of not being able to travel great distances, and the need to spend some time around at the doc’s getting a ‘script, we took to the Werribee Mansion for a coffee, and a walk around the ornamental lake.
And we found Mr and Mrs Chestnut Teal.
Engaged in what can only be described as intense discussion. Those who know of Mrs Ches Teal’s enigmatic “Laugh”, will well know how this conversation was going.
And for those who might be wondering where my photo direction could be going, these were shot with a Nikon V1 (and old camera, which has been much maligned on this blog, more than once). Today, I coupled it with the 300mm f/4 PF and a TC 1.4 Nice, light, easy to carry, and as long as the temperature doesn’t go up, a much better performer than I can remember.
Warm sunshine shmoozing
There is obviously more than one point of view in this discussion and she has them all.
And he could give back as good as he was getting
Ahhh, Kik kik kik kik kik
It’s enough to make you put your bill in the water