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.


Anonymous said...

I am suppose to be paying bills online but thought I would come exploring over here instead! hehe
Amazing pics. I didnt realise you had foxes there. I just saw on a earlier post about the wind farms. They want to start them here in NZ but people don't want them because they're ugly. But I agree with you, I think it shows we are making an effort to save the planet.

Al said...

Holy Dooley Niki,
You must have comment on this almost at the same instant as I posted It!
Hey British Foxes in Oz and Aussie Possums in NZ,the early settlers in both places have a lot to answer for.
I quite wind farms, so I must be in a minority.

Anonymous said...

Goodness I'm learning a lot. I didn't realise our possums were Aussies. The cattle are tested every year for TB because of the possums. They're quite cute though :o)

Not enough hours! said...

I think I like emus a lot. Any creature where the male cares for the young is obviously higher up on the evolutionary scale than we are!
And error in the picture? Is is that the picture is slightly angled, or that the road is leading nowhere, or that the 1/3rds rule was not followed. Whatever it is, great pictures are taken by the heart, not by rules.

~ Rayna

Al said...

Hi Niki,
Yes "your" possums are feral imports from Oz.
I think your only native mammals are bats?
You're teaching me too, I didn't know possums are a TB reservoir. Damn cute especially the some of the gliders and pygmies (which you don't have).

Hi Rayna,
I like emus a lot as well. Although perhaps for slightly different reasons!
Ok! Ok! Rub my nose in it, there is indeed more than one error! :)
I agree entirely rules can inform art, but they shouldn't be a straight jacket. At least that is my excuse.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Nice pics, Al! And you're definitely a writer if you suffer from the persecution syndrome ;)

B. Miller said...

Wonderful pictures! I especially liked the perspective shot of the boardwalk. No "tut tuts" from me! Thanks for sharing.

Indigo said...

I agree with Niki, pictures by the heart, instead of rules have so much more to offer. I feel like I've been on vacation with you. (Hugs)Indigo

Ann said...

Lovely photos. I really loved the sea stacks. And of course the Emu. Who was that comedian a number of years back with the Emu?

Myrna Foster said...

With rheas, a south american ratite, the father also cares for the eggs and the young. I didn't know emus did the same.

Thanks for sharing all of your photos. The only thing I noticed might be wrong with the one picture was that you slanted your horizon line. I still like its composition, though - all those curvy lines and interesting shadows.

Are you going to post on soldier settlement (for those of us who aren't familiar with Oz history), or are you going to make me look it up?

Lisa said...

I don't know what the error is in the picture of the walkway--I really like that one!

Al said...

Hi Jaydee,
I’m happy you like the pics.
Isn’t it amazing how much your own creations can hold you to ransom? Still we probably have it better than Dr Frankenstein.

Hi B.
Pleased you like them. Thanks for an absence of “tut-ing”

Hi Indigo,
I agree the heart should guide us in this sort of area, besides rules are made to be broken. :)
Hey I am only too pleased to take you along for the ride!

Hi Ann,
Thank you. The coastline along there is gorgeous, the stacks and the cliffs are simply heavenly.
I’m not sure about the comedian, we have had a few here in Oz, I think the most famous was a British one called Rod Hull.

Hi Myrna,
We are lucky enough to have two ratites here: the Emu, which is very common; and the Cassowary, which is unfortunately verging on endangered. With Cassowaries, like rheas and emus the males rear the young.
I did indeed have a very wonky horizon, although as Rayna pointed out there are a couple of lesser problems.
Of course my story is that I twisted the horizon to accentuate the curves. And I have absolutely nothing to lose by sticking to it :)
I will probably post about soldier settlement next week.

Hi Lisa,
I really liked it too, the light that morning was just doing really nice things for almost all my piccies.
The main “error” is that I don’t have a level horizon. By convention the camera “should” be aligned to the horizon.

Marsha Moore said...

Beautiful photos!

heidenkind said...

Those birds are scary-looking.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Your pictures are absolutely beautiful!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Awesome pictures. My favorite is the farmhouse. It has a history and a story to tell.

Myrna Foster said...

Okay, I read Rayna's comment more carefully, and I think you could argue your path leads to the sky.

So, are the wild emus and cassowaries dangerous? My dad has emus, and they're more likely to tear up each other than they are a person.

And thanks for answering my settlement question.

Al said...

Hi Marsha,
Thanks! I’m pleased you like them.

Hi Tasha,
I suppose they could be thought of as scary. I think of them as kind of cute in a big bumbling way.

Hi Kimberly,
Thank you. Glad you like them!

Hi Jessie,
I love ruins. As you say, each has its own story, simply fascinating.

Hi Myrna,
Thanks for the tip. I will chose to argue that the path leads to the heavens.

Emus and cassowaries are both large wild animals. The males of both species defend their chicks from predators. So bottom line I wouldn’t get very close to either species in the bush. But I would certainly go out of my way to get close enough to get piccies of either species. My feeling is that wild Emus would run 99.9% of the time. Cassowaries are much more powerful and more aggressive so I’d be more careful.

There are all sorts of myths about cassowaries attacking and disembowelling people and dogs.
But in reality if you break it down it’s a bit like bears in Yellowstone, nearly every attack is by birds that are used to being fed in national parks. So you simply have large wild animals in the same place as people. A potential recipe for disaster.
I’d much rather face a cassowary than a bear.

Wild animals have to be treated as if they are wild and therefore unpredictable. If you treat them with respect and understand something about their behaviour you won’t have problems.

Does your dad farm emus?

Only too happy to answer the settlement question.

Jen said...

Wow I feel like I'm on vacation, these pictures are amazing and inspiring!!! I could sit in certain spots that you've shown and write for hours!!! I'll have to settle for after work in my apartment... not near as exciting!

Tahereh said...

you really have a gift, Al! these pictures are like something out of national geographic magazines! (do people still read that? haha)

another fab post! totally jealous of your little adventures!!


Al said...

Hi Jen,
Pleased I took you away for a bit. They are some amazing places. Very conducive to just sitting and thinking (or writing for that matter).

Hi Tahereh,
Thank you! But I don't show you the piccies that didn't work, it's all in the editing. :)

Myrna Foster said...

That was the idea, but the bottom fell out of the market not long after he bought them. They're really more like pets - definitely not wild.

DJ Kirkby said...

Amazing photos. Uncle Harry is a figment of your imagination? I'm so disappointed!

Al said...

Hi Myrna,
A heap of people down this way lost their life savings in emu and ostrich farming. I hope your dad wasn't too badly hit.

Hi DJ,
Yes my dear old Uncle Harry is strictly imaginary.
Who says you have to give up on imaginary friends (and otherwise) as you grow up!

Lisa said...

See I noticed the walkway pic was not "level" but I thought that actually added to the pic.

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
You are a person of sense!
The story that the wonky horizon was deliberate is one I will stick to until my dying day!