Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When Things Fall Into Place

I experienced a bit of an odd moment on Saturday.
As you know I like to get out and about with my camera in tow.

Anyway I conceived an idea of taking some piccies of a waterfall. I didn’t have one in mind but falling water was what I wanted.

We often haunt the Yarra Valley on our weekend forays. So I naturally thought of Googling waterfalls near our usual haunt.
Only one came up and it was something like one and a half hours walk from the nearest road. Not really something that would daunt me too much, but I thought too far for a Saturday afternoon.

So I cast my web a bit further.

Another waterfall popped up.

Toorongo Falls out in the Gippsland district past Noojee.

Closer to car parking, only twenty five minutes walk each way. Good.

So I ask Google how to get there. Three hours drive each way.

Now don’t get me wrong I am an Aussie, more than that I am a Queenslander and we make our country big up that way.

So normally I wouldn’t worry about a couple of hours drive (each way) on a Saturday afternoon.

But three? And I wanted to get up reasonably on Sunday early to catch ANZAC day the next morning.

Another one for the back burner, I thought.

Five minutes later Deb wandered in to my study.

‘Shall we go somewhere today.’

‘I’d like to. Where do you think?’

‘I thought out past Yarra Junction, past Powelltown. You know the road that leads down towards Warragul?’

Deb had just outlined 80% of the trip to Noojee and the Falls.

So of course that was that, we were going.

It took us about two hours, not three. Google’s estimates are usually pretty good. But clearly we kept up a higher average on windy mountain roads than they expect. Plus, although it was a long-weekend, it was rainy. So the road was quiet.

When we got there it was wet, and it was getting late. Deb thought about it, but knitting in a warm car suddenly seemed far more attractive than traipsing along a muddy, leech infested track.

I checked the time, as I said it was late and cloudy. It gets very dark, very quickly in the bush. I’ve been caught in the bush in the dark before and it isn’t fun without a good light (there is probably another post there some time).

But I figured I had enough time: to get to the falls; take some piccies; and get back before I lost the light.

Five minutes into the walk the track crosses the Toorongo River. Thanks to the rain there was plenty of water, which is good when you want to take photos of a waterfall. With the Oz climate being what it is, I have arrived at many a “waterfall” to think, ‘Hmm, interesting cliff. Now where is that waterfall?’

I thought the swollen stream rushing around some lovely moss covered boulders was too attractive to not grab a couple of piccies. So here you are, I shot these quickly because I was by now worried that I simply wouldn’t have enough light to get the waterfall.From the crossing it was a good climb the whole way to the Falls. I caught the glimpse about halfway up that I teased you with last night. I shot that with a long telephoto lens.

Then finally I was at the falls. But it was by now almost dark.
So dark in fact that I would have had no chance to capture anything if I hadn’t brought a tripod.

So I got these with a really long exposure. What do you think?(The one above was Deb's favourite.)
I am happy with them, especially given they were shot under really bad conditions.I’ve included this one to give an indication of how long the exposure was. I “ruined” it by moving the camera before the shutter closed. It almost looks like mist rising off the falls.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tired Again and a Tease

Well I had a long day at work. Poor Deb has had a longer one. It’s now quarter to ten in the evening and she isn’t yet home.

I have started a number of posts this evening, only to shelve them, or scrap them.

Now once again my bed time is fast approaching and I have run out of time (early starts mean this boy is usually early to bed).

Hopefully my subconscious will go to work and I will be quicker off the mark tomorrow night.

In the meantime: a tease

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Just on dawn on the 25th of April ninety-five years ago the first boats of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps grounded at Gallipoli in Turkey.For the first time as a nation Australia was going to war. As a brand new nation and proud member of the British Empire, Australia pledged to join the war effort as soon as World War One began in 1914.

But we didn’t have an army to speak of, so recruitment and training began. The initial force sent overseas was a combined corps of Aussie and Kiwi troops.

The ANZACS initially went to Egypt to train. From there they were deployed in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign as part of a larger allied force.
After nine long months of bloody conflict the campaign failed and the Allied Troops were evacuated. During those nine months 28,150 Diggers (the Oz word for soldier) became casualties with a total of 8,709 killed. The Kiwis had 7,473 casualties with 2,721 killed.

For the people from Downunder these numbers killed and wounded were simply staggering. Remember during WWI Oz only had a population 4.5 million and NZ a population of 1.1 million.

By the time the war dragged to an end in 1918 over 330,000 Aussie recruits had served overseas, all volunteers.
The casualty rates for Australian soldiers in WWI were horrendous as the Diggers were often used as "shock troops", 67% of Aussies serving overseas during WWI became casualties.

Australian society, like so many others, was traumatised by the carnage.
Every Aussie town, city and state has a war memorial of some kind.

So every April on the 25th, both here and in New Zealand, Anzac day is held to commemorate those who served and those who were lost in every war Oz has fought.

The day begins with the Dawn Service.

Then the traditional ANZAC Day Parade begins.

The parade is led by The Police Pipe Band.Behind which is the Parade Marshal in a WWII vintage Jeep.He was so excited about waving at the crowd he nearly fell out of the Jeep several times.Then an Australian Light Horseman.He is followed by a stream of cars carrying veterans who are too unsteady to march any longer.

Including Rolls Royces newand old
Cars old and quaint.Then current naval personnelVeterans in an old troop carrierOr under their own steamOr with some assistance from familyA proud officer leading her troops,And in the ranks both men and women, something that would never have happened 95 years ago.A day for patriotism,For wearing kilts, lest we forget the highland roots of some,A day for smiles,For laughter,And for reflectionFor passing a word of advice to the young.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Grey Day

Well all good things must come to an end.
Unfortunately our holiday fitted into that category.

On our last morning the early cloud didn’t burn off as it had on every other morning. Through the morning the weather alternated between windy and grey and windy, grey and wet.

We elected to meander along The Great Ocean Road in the direction of home.

We have travelled this piece of road on a number of occasions. The scenery is so spectacular we just can’t seem to get enough of it.

In spite of coming along here before we managed to find spots we hadn’t caught before.

Like this spectacular cove at the end of a little track, and from the same point turning about 90 degrees to the right.The sea was of course reflecting the sky and instead of deep blue it was grey and green.

At one point along the cliffs I found these fellows: Long Beaked Corellas, an Oz cockatoo.
These guys are normally associated more with the dry inland than the coast. They usually nest in hollow trees. I would have guessed they were looking for possible nesting hollows along the cliffs, except they don’t begin nesting until mid-winter (July down this end of the world).

A little further on was this feature, called strangely enough “The Arch”

Near Loch Ard Gorge the sun briefly poked out from between the clouds.

We elected not to stop at the famous “Twelve Apostles, because we have seen them before and with the holiday they were simply unpleasantly crowded.

Just to the East of the Apostles are “Gibson’s Steps”.Deb waited at the top and snapped a few photos.
This is Deb’s isn’t the look of the sea a total contrast compared to just a few days before?
Then as she waited a slightly portly, amateur photographer with pretensions to publushing came into sight at the base of the cliff.
It was so cool I had pulled a woollen jumper over my T-shirt.

While I was going down the stairs and from the beach I captured these piccies of the cliffs.Then it was a matter of climbing back up the stairs to see if Deb had blown away.
Now that is it, my protracted description of our holiday has come to an end.

Next time: an odd word

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ho Hum, More Piccies and Another Dead Volcano?

Well here I go again, inflicting more of my holiday piccies on you. Uncle Harry would be proud of me.
Well actually he probably wouldn’t. Nothing anyone does comes up to his standards.

Oh boy, now I am developing a persecution complex about a figment of my own imagination.

Anyway here we go...

After I explored the Tarragal Caves we headed back to our accommodation at Warrnambool.

On the way I ran the risk of driving Deb nuts by pausing to take some shots of this ruined farmhouse.Unfortunately, there are ruins like this scattered over large swathes of Oz countryside. Some of them are the natural consequence of farmers going bust. Many though are the result of a darker piece of Oz history called soldier settlement.

Enough about that for now.

I also paused to grab a piccie or two of this shed that was catching the setting sun.
I was up bright and early (before dawn) the next morning. I raced out to catch the dawn piccies I posted a week or two ago.

After I got the dawn shots I went a little further east to the Bay of Islands
which I knew would still be in shadow.
As it continued to get light I took a series of shots of the bay in the early light. Then as the sun got a little higher it began painting the cliffs of the sea stacks with the amazing gold of morning.

For those of you interested a post made last year shows the cliffs later in the day. (Uncle Harry was plaguing me back then too).

With the colours fading into a regular day and getting hungry I headed back to a leisurely breakfast with Deb (who isn’t silly enough to be up in the pre-dawn dark).

We decided to go for another drive. Our first port of call (literally although we were driving) was the Warrnambool foreshore. I took this shot of Middle Island (which happens to be a Fairy Penguin Colony). In an interesting application of lateral thinking Parks Victoria has a number of Marremmas who live on the island to protect the penguins from vermin like introduced foxes.

I also captured this image of the clouds dancing in a sunlit morning sky. As a total aside can you see the error in this piccie that would have many "real" photographers "tut tuting"?

Then we motored a short distance to Tower Hill.
Like Mt Leura Tower hill is a huge maar volcano. In this piccie the range of hills centre frame are secondary cones that formed in the crater. This second pic gives a better idea of the crater wall and the secondary cones in the middle. The level area is the floor of the caldera. In normal years the crater is a lake with islands in the middle but after 13 years of drought most of the lake is gone.
This piccie taken inside the caldera shows an eroding segment of the crater wall, you can see how the original volcano built up in layers, each one representing a series of eruptions.

Inside the crater I caught this fellow and his two half grown chicks.He is an Emu, an Oz native and the second largest bird in the world (after the African Ostrich). Incidentally I know he is a “he” because with Emus the dad takes full responsibility for incubation and raising the brood of several females. He would have had somewhere between 10 and 30 chicks hatch out. Unfortunately he probably lost most to foxes. Foxes aren’t native they were introduced in the Nineteenth Century for “Gentlemen” to hunt. They have decimated native wildlife (with the help of domestic cats that have gone feral). Fortunately, the chicks are probably large enough to avoid predation now, their biggest danger as they continue growing will be the risk of getting hit by cars.

My final two piccies of the day are from a bay near Port Fairy where we stopped for afternoon tea.