Thursday, 29 August 2013

To welcome the spring.....

The title of the post is an adaptation of the words of a song:

The real words are "To welcome the summer, whose first day is ending": it's from this song, which you may or may not like!

I managed to get out for an evening walk this week - a combination of growing day length and an almost fully healed ankle.

So, here are two skies to welcome the spring, whose first day is ending.  (Its raining and cold outside tonight, so I think winter is having one last go - but that does not sound as poetic!)

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.

Enjoy the skies - and if you are up north, enjoy the last days of Summer.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 59 - Red Knot

Reports are starting to come in of the waders returning from the Northern Hemisphere to the coasts and wetlands of Victoria.  This is always an exciting time - and with luck I may be able to get out this weekend to have a look for some.

So, it a desperate attempt to segue between that and todays WBW I have decided to post some pictures of waders - Red Knot - getting ready to fly north a whole breeding season ago.

The Red Knot - Calidris canutus - is a chunky looking wader of about 25 cm.  It only takes on its eponymous characteristic in its breeding plumage.  In other words, it generally looks at its best when its not in Australia.

However, I was lucky enough to find a group of these birds on Pope's Eye - an island I have mentioned a few time in posts - last autumn (thats last spring for you up north!)

A few of the birds were beginning  to "red up" into breeding plumage - which meant that a). they look splendid and b). they were easy identify! That's the kind of double win I like!

It's hard to believe that these birds are about to fly off to N.E. Siberia!  And its even harder to believe that if I manage to see the leg flagged bird again, it will have flown from Australia to Siberia and back between sightings.    The leg flagged bird (A7) was flagged less than 20 km from where I saw it, so it obviously just popping out for some milk and the paper before it heads north!

As ever there is some fun to be had from looking at the origin of name of these birds.  The origin of Knot is (sorry) not know - which apart from anything else demonstrates the baffling use of silent Ks in the English language!

Calidris is derived from the Greek for "speckled water bird", although there is very little chance that Knot were the bird that help come up with this name.   canutus comes from some form of association with the Danish and English King Canute.  It seems he may have liked to eat them!

Anyway, enough of me, now its your turn!

Most of you know the drill by now, so click on the link and off you go!

If you are new to WBW - welcome! and click the link below and follow the simple instructions to join in.  Cheers - SM

Monday, 26 August 2013

Before and after...

I suppose most photographers (of any styles and competency) must have a interest in light.  The way it bounces off some surfaces and is absorbed by others is fascinating - the way the merest change  can radically alter the way that light interacts with that the surface makes for a constant shifting of colour and texture.

Back when I was a science teacher I used to love the practicals about light - especially bouncing light from pale surfaces to fill the darkness of shadows.  For many students it was a "your not kidding" kind of moment when it became clear that the mad-man at the front had got it right when he said light bounced off things.

I suppose these two images from the harbor in Hobart sum up this idea - the way the light falling on the boat and coming straight back to the camera makes such a different image to the light coming to the camera via the surface of the water.

So, why is this Our World on Tuesday?  I suppose it sums up an important aspect of our world,  - that understanding how things really are does not take away a single iota of beauty or mystery.


You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Many, many horses.

This is another image from a post trip to Hobart.

I like the differences and similarities between the sheen of the metal and the liquid flow of the water.

I have increased the saturation a tiny bit - but the depth of the colours in the reflection is what attracted my attention in the first, so I dont think the picture has been "tricked up" too much.

You never know, but by next week I may have some new pictures!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I love Macro.

Cheers - SM.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Hobart Sky

This is a return to my series featuring sky with no sky visible.

I took this picture in Hobart harbour a while ago - it was a great day, full of the call of gulls and the smell of fish and chips!  Heaven!

Its not upside-down - its a reflection!

I may be a bit tardy replying to comments over the next few days - busy, busy, busy!

If you are still wondering what the literary reference was - its to "The World According to Garp"

You can find more skies from around the world at Sky Watch Friday.

I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 58 - White Faced Heron

Dawn at Werribee, Victoria
White-Faced Herons are a common bird of the wetlands in my part of the world.  They are my 'default heron' - meaning its the one that I think of most often if I hear the word heron.

Park ponds, road-side drains, wet pastures, the coast and sewage farms are good places to find this bird.

The white-faced heron - Egretta novaehollandiae - is a bird that lives up to its name in many ways.  Most simply it has a white face, making it generally easy to identify.  "Novaehollandiae" comes from the old name for Australia - New Holland - and Australia is the base for this species.

But like many Australians it does not mind a bit a travel and since it was named it as established itself in New Zealand and has expended into Papua New Guinea.

Its a reliably active bird, being rather more mobile that some of its relatives.

Halls Gap, Grampians, Victoria

Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia

Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia
Magnetic Island, Queensland,  Australia
Now its your turn to get involved in WBW - click the link below and off you go! Please link back to WBW, share and generally spread the joy that is WBW through out the world!

Over to you!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Literary Reference at Queenscliff

I had been meaning to take a picture of this sign for a while, but never managed to get around to it.  Then one day, I was in the right place, with the right lens and a little bit of light. So this picture is in Queenscliff in Victoria - an old fishing port rebirthing itself these days a tourist destination.  It has one of the best fish and chip shops in the Known Universe.

The image is inspired by a theme / idea from one of my favourite books.

So, what am I on about?  Well lets see if you can work it out - I dont think its too hard.

There are more pictures from around the world to be found here at Our World Tuesday.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Slightly overgrown.

This is a reworking of an picture I took a while ago - but I rather like it.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Love Macro.

Enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Three kinds of sky

With a bit of luck I will be out of the "big black boot" which has been wrapped around my damaged ankle for the last month.  After that freedom of a sort beckons.

While I have been a little less than mobile I have not been taking very many pictures, so I have been looking at, deleting and tagging old images.

During this time I started thinking about the kinds of pictures I take - and as I have posted more than a few skies over the last couple of years I started looking at these pictures.

Without being the basis of some kind of photographic monograph I think I can see at a number of different styles of picture in my collection.

1. Pretty skies.

This may not be typical of these types of picture because it contains people.  But the basic idea here is it is the sky itself is the interest.

2. Mood skies

I think the main point of these images is that the sky may not be the central part of the image.  In this case the sky is almost uniform, but the presence of the rainbow and figure (hello, Sal!) and the general tone combine to form the picture.

3.  Skies where the sky is absent or not really the point.

This image works (assuming it does) because of the colour and shape of the chimney, I think the sky is just the colour that makes the chimney interesting.

I think I have been indoors too much!

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.  Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 57 - Black and White

I thought I'd do something a little different this week - I've posted birds of the same type, from the same place and from the same day - but tis week I thought I'd post birds of the same colour.  In in ths case, two colours; black and white.

So here they are, in no particular order of preference:

Pied Oystercatcher

Those of you with a sharp eye will notice that this oystercatcher is the image I used for the WBW badge.

Magpie Lark
 Those of you with a sharp eye will notice that this Magpie lark is the image I used for my Flickr badge!


Little Pied Cormorant

Pied Butcher Bird
Willie Wagtail
Australian Pelican
Hope you liked the tour in black and white (and just a touch of grey).

Now its your turn to get involved in WBW - click the link below and off you go! (Ah, I messed up the start time - all fixed.  Sorry about that!)

Monday, 12 August 2013

Rock Hoppers - of a sort.

I think I could forward a decent argument for kangaroos being just about the most remarkable animals on Earth (with the Platypus being the best other contender).  They are just so strange, but yet so wonderful at the time.

These are not kangaroos in the strict sense but are in fact Black Footed Rock Wallabies (Petrogale laterals).  Now, the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaby are basically down to size - wallabies are smaller - but also some specific details of their teeth.

The little animals are just over 1/2 a metre long, with a tail of a similar length.  But what makes them remarkable to watch is the way the bounce around rocky slopes and cliff faces with the same confidence I walk along a pavement.  They also move a hell of a lot quicker than I do on the flat!

These animals were chasing, fighting and generally eating a bit of grass on the rocky slopes at Simpsons Gap in the Northern Territory.  They put on a good show for one and all.

So why "my world" - because, with very few natural exceptions, if you are looking at a wild animal that looks like this you can only be in one place in the world - Australia.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sitting on the surface...

As we were walking along one of the paths around Uluru P gave a squeak of excitement as she came face to face with a small lizard.

It was sitting, motionless on the rock face, not even in a path of sunlight.  It did not move a muscle during the entire time we watched it - I suppose it could have been a little cold.

I have no real idea what sort of beast this is - but my best guess is that its a sort of Dtella.  If anybody knows otherwise please let me know.

You can find more close up shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Love Macro.

Enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A hand in the sky.

There are a few visual jokes in the post.

The hand in the sky is not as big as it looks.  And check out the name of the store.

There may be more skyish picture at Sky Watch Friday!

Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 56 - Budgerigars

The budgerigar must be one of the best know parrots in the world - my mum had one, my grannie had one and at some time in my early teens I saw one perched on the power-lines outside my house in Somerset - I somehow feel it did not make it through the winter!  The sound of these birds chattering to themselves was common in many front rooms throughout the village, and it was only on close inspection that I found that sounds of bells was coming from the silver ball under the mirror (a compulsory budgie cage accessory as far as I could tell) rather than from the bird itself.

I would have no more consider these to be wild birds than I would have considered unicorns as being abundant.

So seeing these birds in the wild is some form of extraordinary treat.  And it was their distinctive calls that first drew our attention to a small bush just as we started walking (limping in my case!) around one the paths that snake through the many heads of Kata Tjuta.  This first view was fleeting, but it set the tome for the rest of the walk and the budgerigar became the bird of the walk.

As we approached a bridge - soon to be christened The Budgerigar Bridge - we could hear a flock of these small, bright green and vocal parrots calling to each other.  The birds were zipping about in the lower branches, checking out holes and generally doing things that mean there will be young budgerigars coming along soon.

These wild birds may lack some of the more outlandish colours that the cage birds show, but I suppose the genes for that plumage must be in the wild gene pool somewhere.  At about 18 or 19 cm these are not a big bird, and their puffy cheeks make them look like they have rather large heads - or at least no neck.

We should be rather thankful that Gould made his living from painting rather than from naming birds - as he wanted this bird called the "Warbling Grass-Parakeet", which does not really roll off the tongue.  It is thought that the name budgerigar is an attempt to transliterate the name of this bird from one of the Yuwaalaraay group of languages.

Now its your turn to get involved in WBW.

So, click on the link below and off you go.  Remember to visit, invite and comment.

Cheers - Stewart M

Monday, 5 August 2013

The other ones

Uluru must rank along side the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the most well know of Australia landmarks. But, for all my fear of having my citizenship revoked, I have to say I somewhat lesser known site is my favourite.

Now while Kata Tjuta or The Olgas are not really a secret, they do seem to have a lower public profile than Uluru.  And in many ways I actually find them more interesting.  The pathways lead between the cliffs, so that you feel as though you are inside the mountain rather than outside of it. There are surprising views and unexpected stretches of water as well.

I loved the place the first time I saw it - and return visits have not changed that opinion.

So here are some shots of Kata Tjuta.

As you can see the whole structure of Kata Tjuta is more complex that Uluru - and I loved the dark and light of these images.

This last shot is an attempt to show the size of the places in central Australia - you can see Uluru (just) reflected in the wing mirror and Kata Tjuta in the distance.  Its about a 50km trip from one to the other, but in central Australia that means they are basically next door to each other!

All of these images will look a lot better if you click on them to see a larger version.

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

PS: sorry about the long sequence of shots from this trip - the ankle is getting better, but I'm not really getting may photo opportunities as I limp around on one leg!!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

On the surface

The landscape of central Australia is remarkable on any number of scales and here I've tried to look at the smallest of these - the very surface of things.

The intense heat and often rapidly cooling nights, wind blown sand, occasional heavy rain and above all else an almost unimaginable spread of time have worn down the rocks.  Uluru has a flaky surafce calling to mind a sheet of rusted metal rather than stone.

Even in the winter you could feel the heat bouncing from it surface.  It called out to be touched.

The flakes form the fastest where water can linger, and their removal has caused the foot worn track up the side of Uluru where people have chosen to climb.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Love Macro.

Enjoy the close ups.