Being originally from England I automatically associate Christmas with cold weather, and by association Robins as they are part of iconography of the festive season. So when walking along the Avon River on a 40º C day seeing these Red-capped Robins seems a little incongruous. For such a small bird they are as bold as brass and will let you approach quite closely. The other confusing thing about Australian robins is that they don’t just come in red.
When we were in Tasmania we had proper winters with snow, and that meant we had robins in their proper setting, but not at Christmas. Oh it’s all very confusing!
There’s no doubt about it we get a lot of weather in Tasmania – it is said that you can experience all four seasons in one day, and that if you don’t like the weather then just wait ten minutes and it will completely different. Thankfully after what seems a very long and cold winter, spring is starting to show. Flowers are starting to bloom, the days are warmer and people are out and about looking happier. The space of time between the first photo and the last is just five weeks and I have gone from wearing thermals, fleece and Gore-tex to shirt sleeves.Here’s looking forward to summer.
After my post on familiarity and Chichester Cathedral I got a few comments about the use of Cokin Filters and after answering them I thought it would be fun to dig them out again and shoot some landscapes. There’s no HDR or tone mapping each photo is the result of a single exposure. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Alien Skin Exposure 3 to simulate Fuji Velvia 50.
Hobart has a fascinating colonial history which on many levels can be seen from the the buildings of the era, but they don’t really tell what life was like during that period. Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back through time and see Hobart and how the people lived? Well you can – sort of. No this doesn’t involve travelling back through time à la Doctor Who, but rather a short walk of just over 5.5Km (or 3.4 miles) return and a morning of your time.
The starting point for our time travelling adventure is the Collins Way Car Park situated on the corner of Molle and Collins Streets. Walk through the car park to the start of the Hobart Linear Park and then follow the sign for the Hobart Rivulet Walking Track. The Hobart Rivulet was crucial to the establishment of Hobart as a city. Back in 1803 the Van Dieman’s Land colony was first established upon the banks of the Derwent’s eastern shore at what is now Risdon Cove. Its purpose was to a be a place where Nineteenth Century Britain could send its convict population and a defence against possible French colonial intentions in the region. Fresh water was a problem and after approximately twelve months the settlement was moved to its present location because of what Lieutenant-Governor David Collins described as ‘a run of clear, fresh water’ flowing down off of Mount Wellington (kunanyi, Unghbanyahletta or Poorawetter in the local aboriginal languages) into the River Derwent. The settlement, initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, was named after Lord Hobart, the then Colonial Secretary. From 1804 to the 1860’s the rivulet was Hobart’s primary source of drinking water, drain and sewer. Industry quickly established itself upon its bank using the force of the descending water to power the factories. In 1816 Robert Nash, was a miller who was convicted of breaking and entering (or B and E in the parlance) and had his death sentence commuted in favour of transportation for life to Norfolk Island and was then lucky enough to earn a full pardon and be moved to Hobart, established a flour mill near the Gore Street Weir. The mill had a short working life due to the high costs of maintenance and was closed in 1818 to be replaced by a windmill.
After walking just over 500m you can see a rather nice specimen of colonial Georgian architecture on you right hand side. Milton House was originally built on a one acre allotment which was originally granted to George Wilson soon after his arrival in Hobart Town 1831. George Wilson was born in England in 1801 and he was, by trade, a tobacconist and snuff maker in partnership with H.B.Tonkin. Wilson was on his way to Sydney in 1831 with his wife and two daughters, but during his stopover in Hobart he was so taken with the colony that he decided to settle in Hobart. A few years later his partner arrived from England and they set up the first tobacco and snuff shop in Tasmania. Owning the colony’s first baccy shop was obviously a nice little earner for George.
At the 1Km point you get the first uninterrupted views of the summit of Mount Wellington if the weather is cooperating. By 1820 there were four or five tanneries operating along this stretch of the Rivulet. Leather was an essential commodity in the colony and was used not only for saddles, horse tack, belts, and shoes it also was used to replace metal in the manufacture of buckets and hinges amongst other things. Leather tanning is a water intensive process and after it was finished with it was returned to the Rivulet along with the tanning agents it had dissolved. Now there is only one tannery in existence which supplies leather to Blundstone the Tasmanian boot maker.
Walk past the C3 Church complex, or if you’re in need have a drink at the Rivulet Cafe (open Monday to Fridays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm) and on to Degraves Street. Here on your right is the Cascades Female Factory. Back in the penal colony days the male prisoners were segregated from the female ones and initially the women were held at the Macquarie Street Gaol. This was only seen as a temporary arrangement and the facility soon became over crowded. Between 1788 and 1853 around 12,000 women were shipped to Tasmania, mostly for what we would now consider petty crime and anti-social behaviour. But in 1823 it was a big problem and the Cascades Female Factory was set up as a workhouse and it remained in operation until 1856. There is not much left of the original buildings, just the matron’s cottage really, but it is worth going in and having a look. Take the tour and learn about what happened to these poor women and the depravations they lived with while there.
On leaving the Female Factory keep walking up Degraves Street until you get to Cascade Gardens and the Cascades Brewery. The brewery was opened in 1832 as an adjunct to the Macintosh and Degraves Sawmills. The early history of the venture would probably make the basis of a good TV drama. Hugh Macintosh was a retired East India Company officer who migrated to Australia in 1824 with his brother-in-law Peter Degraves. Degraves was a bit of a rotter and scoundrel being a thief and an undischarged bankrupt. The law catches up with Degraves and from 1826 to 1832 he ends up in debtors prison. Macintosh does the right thing by him and dissolves the partnership and pays out the debts and then moves to New Norfolk to farm. Degraves on his release takes over running the brewery. All fairly amicable and straight forward at this stage. Unfortunately Hugh Macintosh dies in 1834 and his share in the business passes to his son William who was in Madras, India. The dastardly Degraves offers to buy William’s inheritance off of him and run the booming business himself. Degraves reneges on the deal and poor William dies a pauper in 1840. Degraves rewrote the history of the firm saying that he was the sole founder of the company and that remained that until 2011 when historian Greg Jefferys discovered the truth. The brewery is now owned by Fosters and produces a range of beers, homebrew, apple cider and non-alcoholic beverages including apple juice, blackcurrant syrup and carbonated beverages. The brewery has a visitor’s centre and runs two tours: the brewery tour which takes you round the brewery and have a tasting; the heritage tour takes you round the gardens and museum and it is more family orientated.
Nothing of earth shattering importance this week. I took the faithful hound up to Rosny Hill for a walk. It was a beautiful saturday afternoon, and the track was quiet enough so she could run off the lead. All I had to do was just walk and look. I had my Panasonic LX5 with me so I just took some quick and dirty HDR panoramas.
When I got home I just dropped them into Adobe Lightroom. First I did the HDR conversions using HDR Efex Pro2, and then I did the panoramic stitching in Photoshop CS5. Nothing complicated, just a few minutes on each.
The dog enjoyed herself, I could tell for when we got home she went to bed. As the great canine philosopher, Snoopy, said “A tired puppy is a happy puppy”.
Well with the help of a horde of minions Paul Amyes Photography (PAP), the global producer and purveyor of photo media par excellence, has relocated from the Wheatbelt of Western Australia to the Southern Beaches of Tasmania. Now as anyone with any kind of aspiration to any sort of global domination will know that one of the keys to success is a top-secret location, preferably hidden on a tropical island in an extinct volcano or a vast subterranean labyrinth of tunnels under a suitably gothic city scape. Well we’re no different, we have established our headquarters on a gargantuan private estate that is patrolled by a roving multitude of attack possums and killer quolls. We tried to get the more ferocious Tasmanian Devils, but the double whammy effect of Devil Facial Tumour and Tasmanian motorists decimating their numbers means that are too few in number and therefore they just won’t work for peanuts. However, there was a slight problem with the plan. Being top-secret and heavily guarded made setting up telecommunication links very difficult. The technicians either didn’t know where to find us or were put to flight by the packs of marauding marsupials. After four weeks with only dodgy mobile phone reception and non- existent 3G mobile internet we finally relented and gave out our address and told security to take the day off. With the arrival of the electric interwebs social intercourse can now resume and we can open for business again. Hoorah!
Seriously folks our move to Tassie went smoothly and we are now planning to re-launch the business. Consequently over the next couple of months the blog and website will be re-worked and refreshed. Blogging will continue, but I hope it will become a little more focussed on the launch of new projects, products and services. Shortly after arriving I was invited to The Mercury’s short film festival as my film had been short listed for an award. Alas I did not win anything (the competition was just too good) I have been emboldened to take my film making more seriously and will look at gaining more skills and then using them to produce a lot more work with aim of taking on editorial and commercial projects.
Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, sits at the feet of Mount Wellington. At 1270m, or 4166 feet it certainly has a presence. When the frequent rain or storm clouds gathering round its summit it has a brooding almost menacing presence, yet when the sun’s setting rays are reflected off the face then it appears gold, magnificent and verging on benevolent. It is quite something to behold.
During our recent visit to Tassie we spent a while in Hobart and our digs gave us magnificent views of the mountain. It was what we woke up to in the morning, and what we went to bed with at night. I never tired of the infinite variations on the view as the clouds and the sun interplayed with the surface. Tasmania also has a lot of deciduous trees and so we were also treated to a golden autumnal display. It was a challenge to try to capture the majesty of the mountain, the glorious colours, and the ever-changing cloudscape, especially with limited equipment, I had no tripod nor neutral density graduated filters, and the m4/3 Olympus Pen EP-2 has a limited dynamic range. So it was a case of bracketing exposures and shooting like crazy. It also meant that I had no real feed back on how my images were on the rear LCD screen as they weren’t representative of the final image.
The mountain is criss crossed with walking tracks, but we took the easy option and drove to the summit, or the Pinnacle as it is officially known. There is a viewing deck that gives magnificent panoramic views out over the city and further, but, and there is always a but, the weather has to be good for this with no cloud cover. We were lucky and were rewarded with stunning vistas. Be warned it is also a lot colder on top of the mountain than in the city, according to the weather bureau 8℃ cooler, so on a winter’s day like we had it can be bitterly cold. The white patches in the shot below is ice and it was around midday.
Also near where we were staying was the Cascade Brewery, a magnificent piece of Tasmania Gothic architecture, and it seemed perfectly placed – a majestic building under a majestic mountain.
I’ve now finished all the photo processing so blog posts won’t be so few and far between now. Having said that I haven’t even looked at the video footage yet.