People of Harrow: trooper Bruce 

That big bloke through the window there is Bruce, a local farmer who is a natural with horses; for twenty years he and his horse (or rather, one horse or another) have been volunteering to appear in the renowned Sound and Light Show. The show re-enacts (and, no doubt, embellishes upon) Harrow’s historic past, and Bruce’s trooper is a show favourite, especially when the horse appears outside the Hermitage Hotel to meet members of the audience. It’s a great night out, where you’re guaranteed a good feed of historically-inspired tucker while you learn about Harrow’s early history in a hilarious, rollicking show. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC GX7 with 20mm f1.7 lens. In camera monochrome filter used; edited with Snapseed app.

Love My Town: Harrow in the spotlight 

Harrow is a vibrant town and community, way out west in Victoria, Australia, rich in history and character. I moved here a few years ago when I fell in love with a hand-made house (I tell people I moved here for an amazing house, and stayed for the wonderful community), and have never had a moment’s regret. Coming here felt like coming home. In the time I have lived here I have volunteered for community service for the first time, been the editor of the local newsletter, edited a book as part of a five-year community project, learned to contribute to something bigger than my own life, made forever-friends, and become the best version of myself so far. Harrow – where volunteerism has become a fine art – is filled with people with similar stories.

Tonight, Harrow’s people crowded into the local pub to watch the screening of the Harrow episode of ABC TV’s Back Roads, though it was hard to hear it over all the hooting, laughing and congratulating of various folks as they came on screen. It was a crazy, happy night, and one that will be remembered as part of Harrow’s continuing folklore – from 1800s pioneer town to the little village that punches above its weight to remain relevant when other towns are giving up the ghost.

God bless you Harrow, you’ve got a lot to be proud of.

Happy Australia Day: silo art at Sheep Hills 

Along with many others, I’ve been musing on the notion of celebrating our love for Australia on a day that the first Australians think of as commemorating the invasion leading to European settlement and irreparable damage to an ancient culture. 

I don’t want to get all political about it, but I wanted to show you how we decided to celebrate this day. This is the new mural at Sheep Hills, between Minyip and Warracknabeal, featuring Wimmera Elders Ron Marks and Regina Hood, along with a young boy and a young girl, to acknowledge indigenous culture and knowledge. 

I’m so grateful to have been born in Australia, I love my country.

Natimuk Farmers Market: the book browser 

As much as I love the genre, like many would-be street photographers I struggle with aiming my camera lens directly at people; my mother taught me that it’s rude to point, rude to stare, and taking photos of people out and about feels like committing both these rudenesses! 

At the last Natimuk Farmers Market I had my Fujifilm X30 at the ready, viewfinder tilted for shooting from the waist, so I galvanised myself into taking the shot when I saw this interesting-looking character stooped at a secondhand book stall.

Fujifilm X30, converted to monochrome and edited in Snapseed app. 

Lake Wallace, Edenhope: pier at dusk, early summer 

Like many who moved, or were born, here after the drought turned the lake into a puddle (at most), I have never seen Lake Wallace full. But, while the lake itself is lovely, what amazed me most the evening this shot was taken was the foreshore atmosphere: family groups spread along the banks, enjoying a meal and activities with friends and dogs; motor boats on the water; people cruising by; it felt pretty great to among them. 

The locals who grew up here remember it being fuller than it is now, with yachting another favourite pastime. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good follow-up season to keep the lake in good health, and bring visitors to this special part of Victoria. 

Bottle, Cicadas, Lake: getting something right 

As a passionate amateur photographer, I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about photography, and less time doing it. After a few years with the micro four thirds system, I have tried a number of cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, and am still trying to get the right kit together. I have a couple of nice prime lenses now – all second hand, as my cameras also are – but I still slosh about in my practise like an unconfident landlubber in a dinghy. 

Yesterday I put my 20mm pancake lens on to take photos at a social event at dusk – wide aperture for low-light capability, small lens for discretion, and an effective focal length near to ‘normal’; I thought it would go well, but I forgot that I am not comfortable being that close to the action in a social setting. Consequently, I got no photos of said action, and went home feeling sad about my own shortcomings.

At least I got a couple of photos of non-human subjects, which is much more my style anyway.

Olympus Pen E-PL5 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens. Straight out of camera.