OK that maybe a little bit melodramatic, but there was no doubt that getting out and about after a few weeks of lockdown was a bit of a rush! So where did I go? What did I do with this new found liberty? Well I went to Wongamine Reserve near Toodyay to look for two types of orchid and do the walk trail. Pretty sad eh?
The reserve isn’t really visited any more the gates are locked and many of the signs broken or over grown. In fact speaking of overgrown the walk trail is so overgrown in places that I suggest that if you do want to visit and walk there that you take a GPS and download the walk track from Trails WA and follow that.
Was there anything positive about the visit? Well yes there was actually. The woodland is home to quite a variety of bird life – I didn’t photograph any as I was not carrying a suitable lens as I had gone to photograph orchids. I would expect from walking through the bush that would be quite a display of wildflowers in spring which would make the journey well worth while. There were quite a few species of dragonflies as well which at the time surprised me for some reason.
Did I find the orchids? Well the Winter Spider Orchid is only 6cm tall with a 2cm flower and the Crinkle-leafed Bunny Orchid is 10cm tall with a 9mm flower and considering that the reserve is 330 ha of bushland I think I did well to find anything at all. I didn’t find any Winter Spider Orchids, I have photographed them before at Babakin, but I found lots of the Bunny Orchids. In fact I never seen so many Crinkle-leafed Bunny Orchids before. So all in all it was a great day out.
…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.
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.
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.
The shift into winter is speeding ahead and there many tasks that have to be done before it arrives , chief among them is getting the winter wood in. As we are off to Hobart in Tasmania next week I had to get the job done quickly so over the last couple of weeks I’ve cut a tonne and a half (1.65 tons for our US based readers) of wood, split and stacked it. For all you budding environmentalists and tree hugging types firstly all this wood is windfall, no tree was harmed in the harvesting. Secondly burning hard woods such as White Gum (Eucalyptus wandoo)or York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba) in a slow combustion wood stove is a clean renewable energy source and so my inner hippy can relax knowing that I’ve not brought about a climatic catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. So all this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t taken many photos of late, and those that I have are just snapshots.
This is one of the snapshots I took this morning while walking my faithful canine companion Frida. It was very nice this morning, the fog was just being burnt off by the morning sun, the Avon River actually looked nice because we’ve had some rain. Usually after a summer it is a dried salt encrusted riverbed with fetid and smelly pools that look like they could be harbouring some new toxic life force that is about to star in the next episode of Doctor Who. So I had my point and shoot camera with me and fired off a few frames judiciously bracketing the exposure. I loaded them into Lightroom and then played with them in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 and so liked what I came up with that I have posted it here on my blog. Now a short while ago I was going to buy the complete suite and it was $600 AUD (mainly because software companies believe they can price gouge us Antipodeans) and I wasn’t too sure. It was a lot of moolah for something I wasn’t too convinced I’d use a lot, and I’m basically tighter than a fish’s eyelid. Then the quandary was solved when big bad Google bought out the company and everyone thought well that’s that then – no more nice plugins. Well I was wrong and Google have now launched the complete suit under their branding for measly sum of $149 USD. I mean that is what they were charing for just one of their products not so long ago. Do your self a favour do the magic www thing and head over and down load a trial and see what you think.
Anyways as I said earlier I’m off to Tassie on Monday for 2 weeks so I’ve generously given all the staff at the global headquarters of Paul Amyes Photography the time off as well and so there will be no further posts until I’m back.