Sunday, April 08, 2007

New Blog/Photoblog for me...

Well, I have been very remiss at updating this poor old blog haven't I? My apologies to anyone who have been visiting still to see if there was anything happening.
Truth be told, life has been happening, as ususal, as it happens to all of us lucky enough to still be around (those who aren't probably wouldn't be reading this, but I keep an open mind to all potential realities)

ANYHOW - I have been maintaining an online exsistence elsewhere, concentrating on my medium format "toy camera" photography with an associated blog, as I seem to be mainly concentrating on photography when I'm not working these days, secondary to my domestic and familial responsibilities of course! If you are not sure exactly what I mean by Toycamera Photography then visiting my new site should clear things up (hopefully)!

You can find my latest online distractions at this site:
I hope you like what you see and read there

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Monday, January 22, 2007

C1/2006 or how we saw McNaught's Comet Tonight

Tonight was the first clear night to be had for quite a while and the smoke haze from all the bushfires was not as evident, probably due to the last couple of days of steady (but hardly enough) rain. I have also finished a stint of nightshift, so was mercifully free for the evening.
After an unsuccessful attempt to see this comet from "Skyhigh" at Mt Dandenong last week, we decided to try Ridge road tonight. Bundling the girls into the car we set off at about 2050hrs, because according to my astronomy software (Starry Night Backyard, which coincidently was the first piece of software I bought when I got my first PC 6 years ago), that was the time to start looking out for the comet, over towards the SW horizon.

So we arrive as astronomical twilight was gleaming still...the glow from the sun below the horizon still illuminating all the dust particles hanging over Melbourne in the West giving the horizon a characteristic ruddy hue. We could see the new moon to our right and Venus shining brightly to the left of it...but no comet yet. The minutes went past as we chatted with some of the 16 or so other people gathered there hoping to catch a glimpse of the most spectacular of astronomical portents that are sometimes visible to the naked eye (if you're lucky) ...still more minutes past and the sky became darker by degrees as each minute past. Suddenly one of the onlookers said "There it is! There! Look...above that tree" pointing. "Where?" a few of us cried. Then suddenly I saw it...faint but still undeniably a comet. Bright core and wispy tail, that even in those early stages was impressively long and promising greater things as the the twilight ended. "Woah, cool"...I muttered to myself eruditely. This was when I took the shot with my digital camera that you see here, knowing that any later on would defeat my camera's abilities, at least without a tripod, I did have a tripod and tried using it later to get more images, but no joy...have you ever tried finding a night sky image with a LCD viewfinder? Don't bother! Also the digital noise at the ISO I needed was too much)

The sky got darker and more of the tail became visible. We (we being Clive a nice bloke I met there and had been chatting with) & I determined that by about 2200hrs the visible tail would have been about 10 degrees of arc pointing away from the sun but with a lovely curve towards the ecliptic. My wife and eldest daughter were pretty impressed. It was the first comet the children had ever seen. I think the youngest thought it was pretty too, but she was pretty tired and not as enthusiastic as her sibling or parents.

I could have stayed looking at it until much of it had passed below the horizon, but we had to bundle the kids to bed before they froze or went into melt-down mode. Well, there's always tomorrow night. Fingers crossed for clear skies!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fancy yourself as a poet?

Here's my first effort (below) at, a clever concept created by Joseph Pearson a damn fine fellow...
Darn, I had to delete the link window as it opened up on a "parked" page. Joseph must be busy. I forgot to save my poem anywhere else too, but I'm sure it was damn good (ehem...)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mungo Dawn

I woke before dawn and packed the car, making sure I remembered to grab all of my Polaroid film out of the bar fridge, as I nearly left it behind at Wentworth the previous morning. Driving out towards the "Walls of China" I was careful to travel slowly enough to stop for any wildlife crossing the road and sure enough there were a few Kangaroos out and about. One big old red male waited until I was almost on him (mind you by that stage I was only driving at walking speed) before glaring at me one last time and bounding off across the scrubby landscape.

Once at the Walls, I set up my digital camera on a tripod in front of a likely looking formation and set the intervalvometer to 1 min intervals for 100 shots. I wandered around shooting quite a few Polaroids of the area whilst the digital captured what I hoped would be a reasonable time-lapse sequence. It didn't turn out too badly, but I must admit the afternoon-dusk light was more dramatic the day before, the morning light seemed a bit washed out. Next time I go I'll be a bit more prepared and organised.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Metaphysics of Mungo

The Walls of China are a feature of the Mungo Lake lunette. Over thousands of years, wind and water have carved spectacular formations comprised of sand and clay. Rain washes away the soft sands and muds of the lunette, creating the rilled ridges and residuals that characterise the Walls of China. The dislodged sand is then picked up by the wind and heaped into huge mobile dunes along the back of the lunette. Read more about this amazing place here: Mungo National Park!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Road to Mungo

Road trips. It's a funny thing...making the road trip up the Calder Hwy to Mildura brought back so many memories of my childhood. The place names that go past as the car makes its way north so familiar. The connection is strong. My father was an auditor with a major Australian bank back when country towns still had branches. On school holidays he would request country audits so he could take the family "bush" with him on his job. My sister and I were lucky to experience the peculiar magic of some great country towns. Wycheproof, where the train runs down the middle of the main road for 700 meters, St. Arnaud with it's central park complete with lake and swans, Mildura (well, Red Cliffs really) and "Big Lizzy" Crazy place names like Ouyen and Carwarp. Huge silos beside the rail line running parallel to the road for much of the way...

Friday, August 25, 2006

and by the way...

Hazel Dooney, one of my favourite Australian artists and fellow polaroid & lomo camera user, seen here (at left) with a friend at the opening of her "Venus In Hell" exhibition in Melbourne, has a new blog happening thang here as well as her website
Check 'em out!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Synchronous Mungo Meanderings

Life is very strange. At least I find my life very strange. I have been making plans to go to Mungo National Park soon for a bit of a sabbatical come photo-shoot/sketch trip and refreshing of my creative sensibilities (yes, I know, sounds a bit waffly and arty-farty but I'm hoping for all of the above) Not many people I had talked to seemed to know about it. Of course those who follow science, anthropology and archeology know it as the discovery site of the remains of the famous "Mungo Woman" and "Mungo Man" along with evidence of an ongoing indigenous culture spanning thousands of years before Europeans set foot on Australian soil. So I found it strange today when I mentioned it at work, one colleague said "Where's that?" and another picked up the travel section of "The Age" newspaper and said "Here" on the front page of that section, taking up half of the large format page, is a magnificent photograph of the moon over the sand dunes of "The Walls of China" at Mungo National Park - the very same image my wife and I were admiring online just a few days earlier after doing a google image search of the place.
So here is one of the major Melbourne newspapers with an article on the place I am planing on going to. I'm also informed that a recent"Royal Auto" had an article on the park as well. I wouldn't know because although I am a RACV member, they regularly stuff up my magazine deliveries.
I'm just hoping with this exposure the place isn't bustling with tourists (like me *heh*) by the time I get there, I was hoping for a bit of peace and quiet!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Trains, not planes & some automobiles...

Playing around with the latest thang (so I'm led to believe) Here's a little thing I put together from the lo-res movie capture capabilities my digital camera has. Enjoy...or not. Backing track is a snippet of "Duck Duck Goose" by the late, great Frank Zappa.