The Changing Seasons August 2017

I am so lucky to have been asked to sample down at the Gippsland Lakes this August as I don’t think I would have too much to contribute. I’ve added these photos for Max’s Changing Seasons. Please visit the page and check out some nice views of the world at different times of the year.

August is Acacia flowering time here in Victoria. I grabbed a couple of close ups.

These are both Cootamundra Wattles, Acacia Baileyana. Wattles grow through the bush like weeds and indeed, these wattles, 10s of them, have popped up since the 2014 fire, all from the seeds of one tree. These wattles are not indigenous to the area and must be kept under control. I love their flowers.

Last week I visited the Gippsland Lakes for a sampling trip. The lakes are estuarine and are mostly surrounded by farmland. While they are very beautiful and still wild in parts, they are under threat from the many uses that surround them, such as farming, industry and tourism. We sample the lakes to monitor the chemical and biological quality of the water. From this we can detect gross changes, or gradual trending, in water quality. This in turn enables us to pinpoint the possible source and can initiate discussions to influence changes in industry practices. It becomes a win-win, because most locals do not want their lakes to change while at the same time do not want to be over-regulated.

On the 2nd day, before heading out again, my colleague and I got up well before sunrise to do a spot of fishing and photography near where we were staying. It is indeed a beautiful place.

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The Changing Seasons July 2017

Hi there! July in cold old Victoria it is. I have friends and family overseas and up north sunning themselves. I’m down here in the cold semi antarctic conditions. The sun is shining; it’s not snowing; it not -°; the fires roaring. There is really nothing to complain about. I maybe heading to Hobart next month. Now that will be a wintry experience for me. I’ve added these for Max’s changing seasons. Some not the best quality – apologies.

I have been seeing some very clear weather lately. The mountain – hill, in the distance in the first photograph is 120 km distant. One morning I thought saw a 160 km distant mountain but was not able to prove it.

I try to leave work early sometimes as I like to see the sunset and see my dogs in the daylight

The Changing Seasons June 2017

A big part of blogging is not only posting, but reading, and commenting on, all of my favourite blogs. I apologise for not finding time for this. Work has been more hectic than ever and I admit to being a little addicted to Words with friends. I leave for work in the dark and get home the dark. It’s cold, I light the fire, we eat, we socialise, we watch the telly, we obsess with the internet.
Last week I travelled to Lakes Entrance for a course and managed to capture some pre-dawn photographs. It has been cold but very dry in Victoria this Winter. Some parts of Victoria need rain badly. I will add some of these pics for Max’s changing seasons.

The West Gate Bridge, Melbourne

As a child I was fascinated by the spread of freeways in my city and state. It was many years later that that I discovered they only solved problems for a short time. In Melbourne at the moment it appears every road is being worked on. By the time they all finish they’ll have to get going again. Until I was 11, there was a wonderful windy and relatively unpolluted creek that flowed near my house. We spent so much time down there. We called it the jungle. It was full of box thorn and thistles but it was all we knew. One day I spoke to a man ramming little wooden pegs in the ground. I asked what he was doing to which he replied ‘very soon there will be a big freeway coming through here’. I was amazed. That was end of the jungle.

About the same time, businesses in Melbourne’s western suburbs, the industrial, ugly side of town, were lobbying for a river crossing near the mouth of the Yarra River. Both sides were seen as an ugly wasteland; perfect for a big bridge. Work for the West Gate Bridge commenced in 1968. This only occurred after a series of dodgy money gatherings and bad tendering, as was found in hindsight. Well into construction, late in 1970, a section of the box girder bridge and a box pylon, collapsed killing 35 construction workers and injuring 18.

WG 7

West Gate Bridge immediately after collapse. Journalist photograph. I think this photograph is a mirror image.

Of course there was an inquiry and their findings can be perused. Construction eventually resumed. The photograph below was taken by me in 1976west gate 1976

The bridge was completed in 1978. Tolls were introduced, but later scrapped because it could be avoided. It now carries 200000 vehicles per day and a 2nd lower Yarra crossing is close to commencing. WG 1WG 5

Some say this bridge competes somehow with the Sydney Harbour Bridge. No way; It’s a big ugly bridge that runs through a fairly ugly part of Melbourne. It has 10 car lanes, but no train. I drive over it about 20 times a year. I’ve walked over it too, to raise funds.

Like all bridges, the Westgate has attracted a lot of suiciders. They did not do anything about this until an imbecile threw his 4 year daughter to her death to get back his wife, in 2009, in front of her brother. This story makes me so emotional. That poor little girl and the poor brother, and mother. I can’t write about it. They installed a fence.

WG 6

Under the bridge as we were heading out into the bay pre sunrise in 2008. No fence installed yet. Poor Darcy

Back in 1962, when I was 4, another smaller bridge in the centre of Melbourne cracked due to dodgy engineering. I was a big fan of Zig and Zag, clowns on the telly. They thought they had cracked the bridge when they accidentally dropped a coconut on it. They were gonna get into big trouble. I believed this of course.

King_Street_Bridge_Melbourne

King St Bridge

March in Southern Victoria

March is a glorious time in Southern Victoria. Beautiful warm days. Cooler nights. Dry, often too dry…..For some reason I have been struggling taking photographs. I have been loving making music; maybe that’s the reason. This evening sky at home I could not resist.mid march evening sky looking south

A gathering of old friends for a pot luck dinner. A great time had by all.pot luck dinner old friendsOut on the job on the Gippsland Lakes between sites.

Back Down at the Bay with a G&T in handSummer is moving on

Another freakin sunsetanother freakin sunset

All added for Max on his great monthly photo feature at Cardinal Guzman

Changing Seasons. February 2017

As we approach the end of Summer we will be experiencing an unusual blast of Summer weather. It was only six months ago when I was in Rome experiencing a very similar end of Summer weather. February is not my favourite time to photograph. The light is too harsh except early in the morning and before sunset. Jo and I also spend a lot of time down at the beach to enjoy the mild to warm weather. Last weekend it snowed in our alps; a very very unusual event. Here’s some pics of the beach from a couple of weekends. For Max’s blog.

Shadow

I have numerous photos of shadows over the years. All of varying quality, I have never been particularly fussed if they satisfy certain technical criteria, as long they have some significance with regards to when, where and why I took them. Having said that, when I look at these old pics, I know what I would do today to improve them. All well and good with today’s equipment, but I don’t think I’m any more patient. Lately I have been following Bird Photography Australia’s facebook page. The photographs are extraordinary, and they are welcome respite from the constant depressing political news and opinion mongering that social media indulges in. The patience and technical mastery of these photographers amaze me, but I have no wish to emulate them. I like what I do now, and I will continue to improve at a pace that is dictated by only me, as it should be.
I have added below a couple of pics I took around 1980; one of sheep on a sunny Winter solstice and another of me. Added for WordPress Shadow

 

Searoad Mersey

On Thursday I was lucky enough to be asked to help on the our new work boat. I hadn’t been out for over three years and was very rusty with the tasks. While it was a very long day, it was great to get out of the lab and to be at the pointy end of my job rather than the argy bargy  negotiating I have recently been involved in.

When heading out to sea I noticed a little green ship I have been watching for years from Rosebud, knowing little of is purpose. This ship is the Searoad Mersey. searoad-mersey-smallHere’s a pic I have nicked from google of her battling Bass Strait.2088712This vessel traverses the treacherous Bass Strait daily between Melbourne and Devonport in Tasmania, and travels to King Island weekly. It is mainly a cargo vessel.

Some facts about Bass Strait.
5oo kilometres long
Maximum 350 kilometres wide
Averages 60 metres deep.525px-bass_strait_islands
Prior to the ice age melt, Bass Strait did not exist. The indigenous population travelled freely over this broad land bridge.
The majority of early settlers arrived in Port Phillip by sea. Bass Strait being only 60 metres deep and at the end of a ferocious Southern Ocean, created quite a lot of heartbreak for many emigrants. North of King Island is Cape Otway. The coastline between Cape Otway and the entrance to Port Phillip Bay is referred to the Shipwreck coast. It is not only famous for the Great Ocean Road and Bells Beach. The illustration below amply depicts what many of these wretched souls had to contend with after travelling all the way from Europe.the-storm