We arrived at Doi Lang during the World Bird Photography Congress, or so it seemed. There were little encampments of portable bird hides at every turn, each containing a photographer possibly seated on a porta potty with a packed lunch by their side, they certainly demonstrated considerable patience …
Mine is on order.
Doi Lang is actually one ridge in Doi Pha Hom Pok National park and the home of some eminently photogenic birds, beauties like Mrs Gould’s Pheasant, Mountain Bamboo Partridge and the rare and sexy Rusty-naped Pitta, none of which are overly confiding. The ridge looks across the valley at similar ridges in Myanmar and there is a considerable military presence on both sides of the border. The top of the hill is currently off limits.
This limits the available birding space to just a few meters either side of part of the ridge road where the birds have become so depixelated that extraordinary measures have become necessary …
So, if you do happen to see any mealworms in my photos they were left by the porta potty brigade, right …
Mrs Gould’s Pheasant
As I’ve been driving home of an evening in recent weeks I have been aware that the sun has been setting a little further north on the western horizon each day. One day, in the not too distant future, it would set right at the end of a local road framed at the end of an avenue of trees. Imagine it right in here …
I pulled up The Photographer’s Ephemeris and wound on the clock until April 5 at 6:15 pm. I use this photographer’s aid with some trepidation. Just as certainly as the sun and moon will rise and set at a certain place and time so it is certain that clouds will obscure the event. At least it seems that way. None the less I was there. The sky was partly cloudy. I had chosen my camera position in advance but a couple of hundred metres east of that I saw that the sun was spotlighting a bridge quite beautifully and thought that, even if I got nothing else, this would be a photo. Just to put the icing on the cake a car drove past at a very convenient moment …
Having captured that it was time to see if my plan would come to fruition …
The Photographer’s Ephemeris revealed that a spot on the Yarra River near the Westgate Bridge would give me a great view of the sun coming up over good old Melbourne Town and this time, the ephemeris had much better control over the weather. Just before sunrise …
The glow intensified and I was rewarded for my efforts by this …
A short walk gives a better view of the docks …
and if you look very carefully you can see a number of hot air balloons (and you can always get a better view by clicking on the photos, the back arrow on your browser returns you to this page), I wasn’t the only one saying good morning Melbourne. I retraced my steps and caught them as they crossed the city skyline …
What an adventure they were embarked on …
Nine passengers have jumped from a hot air balloon hovering over Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay onto a police boat below following fears the balloon, which was low on fuel, would ditch into the water.
While the drama unfolded over the bay, a second hot air balloon crashed into a suburban street in nearby Aspendale Gardens.
No one was hurt from either balloon. The one over the bay was sufficiently buoyant, once the passengers had jumped off, to fly on and land ashore.
I’m in the big smoke for a few days. The weather was fairly wild the other day so I headed to Frankston to see what the waves were doing.
They were trying to knock down the pier …
No one was game enough to fish off the end.
The bridge over Kananook Creek is something of a local landmark …
Which brings me finally to the point. The Photographer’s Ephemeris will show you where the sun and moon will rise and set as well as where they will be any time in between and as it happened that very day the sun would set right under the bridge …
The pin marks the spot where the camera was situated for the photo above it. The orange line shows the direction of the sun at sunset which would be at 1714. That, I thought, would convert an ordinary photo into something more interesting.
I was on the spot at 1714. It was pouring with rain, the sun wasn’t even represented by a glow through the cloud.
I’ve had it for two days now and I seem to be getting the hang of it …
I am in Melbourne for a few days so the first morning I headed to Ricketts Point on Port Phillip Bay, one of my favorite spots. A lot of birds roost on the rocks but you do need to get there early because a crowd will build up. I was there early … and the first thing to try was birds in flight in low light. Why start with a bowl of fruit?
It passed that test reasonably well.
As the light improved some colour crept into the show.
By which time it was time for a coffee from the tea house.
The next morning I was at Braeside Park, another favorite place. That’s where I found the cisticola at the top. I also found this Grey Butcherbird
and a Grey Teal looking into the morning sun.
As the sun climbed higher I moved into the shade and found this little jewel, a Spotted Pardalote.
So the camera? A Lumix GH4. Early impressions are extremely favorable. It will get quite a work out in the next few weeks after that I will write a review.
For a long time I have been promising myself that I would get my photos into some sort of order.
So far I have found photos on four different computers, three generations of Mac and a PC. None of the external hard drives lying around would actually do business with all of them. I ended up clearing the oldest Mac with a USB stick, not the nice new one with heaps of storage but an old one that would cope with just 200 files at a time. I still have to find some more photos. One other Mac was stolen some years ago, that’s a collection of photos that I won’t be seeing again and but there is hope that some others are filed away on cd somewhere. Must sort them out while I still have a means of reading cd’s. Anyway most of the digital era is now assembled in one place … must back it up!
Because of some problems with my Olympus camera I’ve also had reason to sort through and put back into use some old camera gear. Reviewing my old photos and being forced to think about my photography has been a most instructive revision course. I got the brand new camera yesterday but before I start showing off what it can do lets see what went before.
Wildlife and landscapes it’s what I do …
Eureka Sound 2008
Ellesmere Island 2008
New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2008
Just got home to find an email from an old friend announcing a new blog.
The friend is Pete Oxford, one of the worlds most successful wildlife photographers, he is in Africa presently … do I need to say more?