Distant pizza …

From where I live it’s a 30 km round trip for a takeaway pizza.

This has some advantages.  For one thing you learn to make your own pizzas and they knock the insipid shop bought ones for six. Among the other advantages is the night sky. A clear night is a numinous experience.

Sunset last night was at 5.30 and the moon would not be up until a little after 8. I drove up to a higher point not far from home hoping to get a photo with the milky way springing up brightly straight from the horizon. That wasn’t going to happen, the glow of the lights from Maryborough and Avoca, each about 15 km away, some smoke haze and a little cloud all conspired to make the horizon very soft. Overhead though was pretty good.

That the stars had coalesced into a large R was very exciting but not enough to enliven the composition. Fortunately, I had a foreground element with me which could be made visible by judiciously washing over it with my headlamp …

Improving but the action is really higher in the sky. Home again to my trusty windmill …

I love my windmill. When the wind blows it pumps water from an underground aquifer into my dam. Sadly the water is too salty to use for irrigation but stock could drink it. Perhaps I should get some stock. The dam doesn’t hold water very well. I like to think that it leaks back into the aquifer. My very own hydrological cycle and so immensely aesthetic.

By which time the moon could wait no longer. One day I will get a milky way photo that I can be proud of. For now I’ll settle for a moonrise …

 

 

Time for a change …

Regular readers will be shocked, shocked, I say …

I’m stuck in Melbourne for a couple of days for rehearsals. That means little to do during the day, practising the saxophone would be too much to ask. Last night I took the camera out late at night and added to my night portfolio. Today I rejigged the blog and added the gallery. It will grow in due course …

Doi Lang …

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 …

Rusty-naped Pitta
Red-gorgeted Flycatcher
Silver-eared Laughingthrush
Siberian Rubythroat
Spot-breasted Parrotbill
Ultramarine Flycatcher
Crested Finchbill
Mrs Gould’s Pheasant

 

 

Summer slips over the horizon …

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 …

 

Good Morning Melbourne …

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 …

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The glow intensified and I was rewarded for my efforts by this …

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A short walk gives a better view of the docks …

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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 …

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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.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris …

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 …

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No one was game enough to fish off the end.

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The bridge over Kananook Creek is something of a local landmark …

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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 …

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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.