Off-Season: Wombelano Recreation Reserve

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For once, I actually decided to get out of the house early this morning to take photos. Okay, alright, I’ll admit: 9am isn’t early by most people’s standards, but that’s my customary rising time!

The recreation reserve at Wombelano – a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it locality with a couple of houses around 15 kilometres north of Harrow, Victoria – was on my list of grounds to shoot for this series as it’s nearby and pretty much disused, although it looks like there may be a spot of cricket played there. I felt a bit odd, driving in, as the grounds appear to be on private property.

Everything was locked up tight, except for the toilet block, so naturally I took a couple of shots in there of the leaves trapped in the hand basin, and the windmill grass choking the cubicles.

The enclosed wood-burning heater with chimney (lower right) is a common sight at football grounds in Australia – it’s a place where people congregate to keep warm while they catch up with the locals on a cold winter’s day.

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60 Feet (or so) Tall: drive by shootings

Oh how I love a big, dramatic sky: just lately we have been served up a regular dose of impossibly blue skies filled with puffy white cumulus clouds. Driving back from Melbourne, I enjoyed the contrast of road-building industry and man-made structures with the much-more impressive backdrop.

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Tuscanesque: drive by shootings

Another shot from the passenger side on the drive back from Melbourne. At the time, I didn’t think I judged this one quite right (as so often I do not), but I have since decided that it balances fairly well. What do you think?

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Through Smoke Haze: shot on the fly

This week, My Good Man and I made what we hope is our last trip to Melbourne for some time. Driving towards the Northern Grampians, the landscape was eerily veiled with smoke from the bush fires burning out of control at Victoria Valley in the Southern Grampians (the fire is now nearly 35,000 hectares in size and is still out of control).

Taking far too long to think about how interesting this made the view from the windscreen, I finally pulled over to allow MGM to take the wheel while I took photos. Naturally, almost as soon as I did so, the smoke cleared up. Happily, though, I got this shot before I did, which I rather like. It’s only very slightly modified from how it came out of the camera, made using the Olympus’ Grainy Black and White Art Mode.

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Mother & Baby Photo Shoot: will wonders never cease?


Maybe it had something to do with the maternity shoot I did for my niece late last year, but when a friend’s baby was born last month I found myself offering to come and take some photos of the new arrival – in a text message, no less, so she had it in writing.

I recently made good on that offer, and popped round for a late-morning session. As is usually the case, it took a while for me to get comfortable and figure out what worked, but by the time Bailey had had his feed, we were getting into full stride and I started enjoying myself. Editing the photos later, I started to actually see the baby – often when I shoot I don’t really notice the subject, but am paying more attention to the composition and lighting.

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Storm With a View: doo, doo, doo, looking out my back door


Lately I’ve been trying out the Diorama Art Mode on my Olympus XZ-1 for things other than the more usual subjects of these previous posts. When I stepped out my door tonight, I decided to give it a try to capture the storm breaking over the landscape, before switching to my much-loved Grainy Black and White Art Mode. I almost discarded this lone shot, but when I converted it to black and white in Picasa, then applied a touch of boost, I was unexpectedly happy with the result; whereas I deleted all the Grainy mode photos.

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When I decided to share this photo, the Creedence Clearwater Revival song popped into my head:
Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy! 
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch. 
Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singing, 

Doo, doo, doo, Looking out my back door. 
There’s a giant doing cartwheels, 
A statue wearing high heels
Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn. 
A dinosaur Victrola listening to Buck Owens. 

Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band. 
Won’t you take a ride on the flying spoon? 
Doo, doo doo. 
Wond’rous apparition provided by magician. 

Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band. 
Won’t you take a ride on the flying spoon? 
Doo, doo doo. 
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrows. 

Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy! 
Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn. 
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrows. 

Songwriters: J. C. FOGERTY

A Peculiar Insect

I found this fascinating fellow on a friend’s veranda today – he (?) was straw-coloured, and fairly large, and looked like a cross between a stick insect and a grasshopper.

If anyone knows what kind of insect this is, I’d be interested to know.

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Edenhope Mud Bash 2013: a very dirty day

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Edenhope Mud Bash

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I attended my first mud bash event yesterday, with no idea what to expect. After a slow start, the competitors drove out on parade, grouped in their classes (e.g. road registered, V8s, 2WD, etc), before heading to the starting line in pairs. Each vehicle then slogged through one side of a pair of mirror-image tracks, taking them over man-made mounds, into deep muddy water, up more mounds, round bends (full of, you guessed it, more muddy water) and through the finish line.

A few didn’t make it past the first water; some went sideways and recovered; some floundered and had to be towed out by tractor. And just because you’re driving the biggest rig, doesn’t mean you’re going to win; it all comes down to skill.

We didn’t stay for the end (My Good Man still tires quickly, post-op, and in the heat so did I) but it was good entertainment – a bit like Wacky Races! Among the drivers, who were mostly testosterone-fueled blokey blokes, was a kid, a woman, and an 84 year old man who has been doing this for four decades – and boy did it show: that guy ripped up the track like it was the easiest thing, showing the competition how it was done!

The location and subject was a challenge way out of my usual repertoire, and I’m afraid it shows. But I still had fun.

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In Praise of Packaging: keeping the youngsters amused


On my recent outing I bought Westley Chickenator a present. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a one-dollar soft toy dog from a thrift shop to see if he would like it. As it turns out, he loves it and spends a lot of time rolling around on the floor with it, biting and clawing like it’s the real thing. I guess he’s  practising dominating the canine family members for ‘ron – just look at that fang and the crazed look in his eyes.

Anyway, the thing that My Good Man and I liked most about my presentation when I arrived home was that, in typical fashion of cats and young kids alike, the packaging received more attention than what came in it.