Bleedin’ Taters*

The secret to time lapsing is having a comfortable chair to sit in while you wait for the shoot to finish.

Got up at “stupid o’clock” the other morning to try out a new bit of time lapsing equipment. Streuth it was cold, and as I drove down to Monger’s Crossing I mused that the brass monkey would be tucked up at home in bed if he was sensible. A Swedish friend of mine once told me that there’s no such thing as cold weather just poor clothing choices. Well I took Matts’ advice to heart and I had more layers  than an onion.  On reaching the river it was dark and foggy, not the most photogenic conditions, but I thought for the purpose of this test it would be OK.  So I set  up the camera and sat down to wait for it to shoot one frame every twenty seconds for one hour.

The Canon EOS 550d and Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS on the Syrp Genie Mini pan and tilt kit.The observant will have noticed that the camera is held together with gaffer tape.

I tried watching a video on my iPod but it was so cold that the battery ran flat real quick so I thought I’d take a few pictures of my companions on the river bank.

 

A yellow billed spoon bill searching for food on a cold and misty morning on the banks of the River Avon. York, Western Australia.

 

A white-faced heron wading on the banks of the River Avon on a misty winter’s morning. York, Western Australia.

As to the time-lapse, well bearing in mind it was just a test to see how it worked, well it was a reasonable first attempt. The only downside was that the camera sensor was filthy and that meant a lot of cloning in Photoshop.

 

 

* English is pretty confusing at the best of times for non native speakers. “Taters in mould” is Cockney rhyming slang for cold.

Quirky Quairading

Quairading Railway Station
Aboriginal art at Quairading Railway Station, Western Australia. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 24mm f2.8 lens. Exposure 1/4000 f8 ISO 400.

 

Situated 166 Km (or 103 miles for the imperially minded) east of Perth is the small Wheatbelt town of Quairading. If you can’t pronounce it you’re not a local! Really it is just a blip on the map, one of countless small Australian country towns. Gazetted in 1907 the town was built around the rail terminus. Typical of many Wheatbelt towns is the CBH grain handling facility built near the station to ship the crop out at harvest time. The railway line has since closed and the grain moved by road. For many towns this would possibly be the last straw, but Quairading carries on. As you drive into town you are met

 

Quairading CBH Grain Bins
The land around Quairading was cleared for farming and in 1932 two grain elevators were built and wheat from the district was transported via rail. The railway shut in 2013 and now the grain travels by road. Canon EOS 550d with Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS EX lens. Exposure: 1/100, f8, at ISO 400.

 

by members of the grain family – cartoon characters based on grains of wheat created by local artist Lyn Whyte. Some of the businesses in the town centre shut down long ago but their buildings have been repurposed. The old bank is now someone’s home and has been called the Brass Razoo Bank, which is Australian slang for having no money and is kind of appropriate.

 

Wesley Wheat
Wesley Wheat a member of the Grain Family. He and his siblings Basil Barley, Ollie Oat and Lucy Lupin are the concept of local artist Lyn Whyte, the family can be seen in quite a few locations around the Quairading district.

 

One of the old shops has a huge street frontage and this now houses a collection of cars straight out of the 1970’s. Just a few doors down is the antique/collectables shop whose contents spill out onto the pavement. The items displayed are often arranged in odd juxtapositions which often cause passers-by to do a double take to see what is going on.

 

Flowers of Quairading
Flowers of Quairading. A street side shop display from the antique shop in Quairading. Sony A7r with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide – Heliar. Exposure: 1/5000 sec, f16 at ISO 6400.

 

The Car Dealership From The 1970's.
The Car Dealership From The 1970’s. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 24mm f2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/200 sec, f16, ISO 1600.

 

Mercedes Truck
An old Mercedes truck sits in a paddock slowly rusting. Quairading, Western Australia. Sony A7r with Voigtlander 75mm f2.5 Color-Heliar lens. Exposure: 1/4000, f2.5 at ISO 400.

 

100 Years of ANZAC
The Anzac memorial in Quairading. Western Australia. Sony A7r with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide – Heliar lens. Exposure: 1/250 sec, f16 at ISO 1600.

 

The real highlight is the people – friendly, upbeat and generous. My partner walked into the local tourist office cum art centre cum civic museum and walked out with a free pumpkin. What more could you want?

 

Entropic Boats

Opossum Bay
Opossum Bay

On Thursday we drove down to the South Arm Peninsular and visited Opossum Bay. It is a beautiful bay with great views across the water to Mount Wellington. Like many such places in Tasmania it has become a popular spot for beachside holidays and retirement. Unlike many Australian beachside settlements the housing is not flat but tiered up the dunes, the resulting vernacular architecture is like a cross between Australian beach culture and Greek Island chic.

Beach House
Beach House, Opossum Bay, Tasmania.
Beach Hut
Beach Hut, Opossum Bay, Tasmania.

As I was walking up and down the beach admiring the view and looking at the houses I noticed something. A lot of the gardens had a row-boat or a tiny in the garden. In many cases the boat was almost new and in good condition. The boat represents a dream to spend time in this beautiful spot and go out on the water fishing – an antidote to the stress and bustle of the world many of us live in.

Garden Rowing Boat #1
Garden Rowing Boat #1

After a while the boat doesn’t get used that much, time commitments probably prevent the owners getting out to the beach house as often as they like. Slowly the garden plants start to encroach upon the boat.

Garden Rowing Boat #2. Over time and with lack of use the boat starts to be covered by the shrubs and bushes in the garden. Opossum Bay, Tasmania.

Eventually the holiday or retirement dream of spending time at the beach house fishing in the bay becomes a long forgotten idea and nature reclaims the boat and it becomes as though it had never existed as either an idea or a physical reality.

Garden Rowing Boat #3
Garden Rowing Boat #3. Eventually the materials from which the boat is made begin to rot and break down and it becomes a dim and distant memory of what it once was. Opossum Bay, Tasmania.

After Midnight

Night time at the old York drive in movie theatre. Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF20mm f/2.8 USM. Exposure 64.0 s at f/4.0 ISO 800.

Apologies to the late, great JJ Cale, who wrote the absolutely sublime song “After Midnight”, but I have been prowling around after dark with my camera and tripod. Every summer I do this because endless blue skies and fields of sun bleached wheat stubble do not make for very interesting photographs. Shooting at night can make the mundane look strangely beautiful and ethereal.

CBH Nocturne, York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 550D & Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS EX. Exposure; manual mode 30.0 s at f/4.0 ISO 3200.

Most of the time the images are straight, i.e. I just set the camera up on my tripod and make an exposure, like the two images above. Sometimes I like to play a little with light painting and flash to make something a little more out there.

In the wreckers yard at night. York, Western Australia. Canon EOS 5D, Canon EF24mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 550EX Speedlite and Canon 430EX Speedlite . Exposure: manual mode 30.0 s at f/2.8 ISO 400.

This image and the one below used flash with gels attached and fired by a set of el cheap “Poverty Wizards” I bought off of Ebay. I keep meaning to get a couple more old manual speedlites and some more wireless receivers to achieve more complicated lighting effects, but what usually happens is that summer ends and I stop going out at night and I quickly forget about it. Maybe this year.

Toxic Waste. Something’s happening in York’s drains!!! York Western Australia. Canon EOS5d with EF20mm f/2.8 USM lens, 430EX Speedlite, and 550EX Speedlite. Exposure 251.0 s at f/5.6 ISO 400.

What makes this fun is that it is experimental, you’re never completely sure how the image is going to turn out. Also with exposures knocking around 30 to 240 seconds it is a slow process and that makes it a more thoughtful exercise as it is not just a case of blazing away and hoping. I find because it can take up to twenty minutes making test exposures and then the final image I become  thoughtful about composition. It is not unusual to have been out for a couple of hours and only make four or five images.

As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online gallery.