Wild, go wild

Been out and about a lot the last few weeks trying to get the book finished – hence no blog activity. But yesterday I was at Herdsman Lake Regional Park and saw this and I thought it was blog worthy:


Herdsman Lake Loop Walk by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Tiger snakes are very common in Herdsman Lake Regional Park.



Immediately I started singing:

“Wild, go wild, go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free
Wild, go wild, go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free”

Songwriters: Malcolm Robert Andrew Mclaren / Matthew James Ashman / Dave Barbarossa / Leigh Roy Gorman
Go Wild in the Country lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Tragic isn’t it. It doesn’t take much to set off the memories of a trashy pop song from 1982. But perhaps it had more to do with the fact that the 14-year-old Annabella Lu Win was seared upon my teenaged hormonally enraged mind. Not hard to see why when the album art by Andy Earl featured a nude Annabella and had Scotland Yard investigate for sexual exploitation of a minor.

In my teenage ignorance I didn’t realise that this was a post modern interpretation of  Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe .  All I thought was “Phwoarrrrrrrrrrrr”. My girlfriend of the time was not impressed to say the least. Anyway my mind was re-focused a few minutes later when I saw this:


Herdsman Lake Loop Walk by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Tiger snake, Notechis scutatus. Herdsman Lake Regional Park, Western Australia.


“**cking hell!” Can those buggers shift while they swim. More alarming was that it made shore about a metre from my feet in the long grass. I tell you this 55-year-old geezer would have at that moment given Usain Bolt a bloody good run for his money.

The Sky Is Crying*…

…and boy did it pour down. It rained so hard that the drops actually bounced.

I was in a rebellious frame of mind this week. I had downed tools on my latest book project as it turned out I’d received no royalty payments for two years. Not unusual I’m afraid, publishers are notoriously tight at best and blatant rip off merchants at worst. My father was not a politically correct man and one of his favourite jokes was:

“How do get a drink out of a Scotsman?

Stick two fingers down his throat!”

Well it wouldn’t work with my publisher. They are just impervious. The accountant usually has a number of excuses as to why he has not made any payments. The usual one is that his father had just died. Not a word of bullshit he had his father die four times over a six month period. Well the statements have been coming in, but no payments had hit my bank account for two years. So as William Shakespeare had King Lear say “Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle” .

I was right royally hacked off and emailed them to say I’m not finishing the current book until I’ve been paid and then I felt the need to go out and do something for me instead of working. So I went to Wireless Hill to photograph orchids in the pouring rain. Make that torrential rain. I’d have stayed drier if I’d have jumped fully clothed into a swimming pool. Anyway despite all that I got four photos I was happy with.


Pansy Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Pansy orchid, Diuris magnifica. Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, Phottix Mitros+ speedlite triggered by a Phottix Odin TCU. Exposure: manual mode, 1/160 s at f/8.0 at ISO 100.


Dancing Spider Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) aka antelope orchid or bee orchid. Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. Exposure: aperture priority, 1/125 s at f/8.0 at ISO 1600.


Pansy Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Pansy orchids, Diuris magnifica, Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. Exposure: aperture priority,1/800 s at f/8.0 at ISO 1600.


Carousel Spider Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Carousel Spider Orchid, Carousel, Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. Exposure: aperture priority, 1/1000 s at f/4.0 at ISO 1600.

The old Canon EOS6d with 100mm f2.8L Macro IS lens performed admirably in the wet and I’m always astounded by the quality of the files it produces, Many would argue that it is not a professional camera due to it having a very basic AF system, poor dynamic range, not properly weather sealed and only having one card slot, but man alive if you can’t produce professional quality work with it then you really need to get some help.

* Today’s musical reference is the song “The Sky Is Crying” written and originally performed by Elmore James in 1959. It was an impromptu song inspired by a downpour of rain. Since then it has become a blues staple with a plethora of artists recording it over the years. My favourite version is still the Elmore James one, but I also like the version by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The video I’ve embedded below features and all star line up of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and BB King.

When The Saints…


This wasn’t intended to be a video project – I’d just gone along to take some photos using my Olympus EM1 and EM10 with the 12-40mm and 40-150mm f2.8 zooms. Then right at the end I’d realised that I had never shot any video on the EM1. So without a tripod or monopod I filmed one song hand-held using the 12-40mm. Luckily I had my Rode VideoMic Pro in my bag and I just mounted this in the flash hot shoe and hoped the sound was good enough.  I just love the built in image stabilisation – it did a fantastic job here.

Crazy Train

Another blog post inspired by a song.

I like trains, not in that anorak wearing train spotter way, but I have happy associations with them of journeys done and I’ve always lived by railway tracks. It’s not the first time I’ve made blog entry about trains. The other one was TransPerth Transhumance. So the first of my photos is this:

York CBH Nocturne. Train been filled at the York CBH grain handling facility in York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF24mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure: manual mode 20.0 s at f/4.0 ISO 800.

I live very close to the CBH grain handling facility in York and can hear when they are filling the trains, which for some reasons always seem to happen at night. Anyway last night I heard the train pulling in at about 8:30pm and I quickly grabbed a camera and tripod and headed down there. So here it is fresh from the camera card.

Thomas the tank engine pulls into the platform at the Beverley Station Art Gallery. Immediately he senses that something is not quite right. Beverley, Western Australia. Canon EOS 550D with Canon EF24mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure: aperture priority mode 1/320 s at f/11.0 ISO 1600.

The picture of Thomas was just a piece of fun. My partner had an exhibition at the Beverley Station Gallery, and I found this old battered Thomas The Tank Engine Toy in the gallery so it was a picture just begging to be made.

Oh and for those wondering about the title of the post and where it comes from – it’s from a track called “Crazy Train” by Western Australian band The Waifs.

Salamanca Markets

More Tales from Tasmania

Salamanca Busker


Salamanca Place – this row of old colonial warehouses are the remnant of Hobart’s whaling history and were built in the 1830’s. The area was originally called the Cottage Green, but after the Duke of Wellington defeated 40,000 French men in forty minutes at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 it was renamed in a fit of patriotic pride. Wellington was very popular in Hobart, he also gave his name to the mountain.

As usual with anything historic or cultural in Australia the area fell into disuse and ruin and things stayed that way until the 1970’s when the penny dropped and someone realized that if the place was regenerated it might bring in some money. By the 1990’s the old quarry site behind the warehouse was also developed into a sheltered public square with shops and cafe and now the whole area is really the cultural and social area for tourists and locals alike.

Cary Lewincamp’s pitch at the Salamanca Market in Hobart.

In 1972 the town council thought that a Saturday market in Salamanca place would be just great. So the first market opened with just 12 stalls. Today there are some 300 stalls and it is reckoned that the market attracts 25,000-40,000 visitors every Saturday. The first stalls were granted on a temporary first come first served basis but now the permanent stallholders can pay up to $100,000 AUD for their occupancy rights.


Rainbow Headbands



The stalls now sell hippyware, tourist tack, fruit and veg, craft ware, art, secondhand clothes and all manner of other stuff most of which is exorbitantly priced, but with leases going for so much they’ve got to make a living somehow. To add to all this there is whole host of enthusiastic and energetic buskers who make up for a lack of talent with volume of sound. If all this sounds as if I’m down on the place, I’m actually not because what all this means is that the market is a Mecca for people watchers. Never mind the weather, its on every Saturday. As the saying goes “Be there or be square.”.