Posts Tagged ‘photography’

I can safely say I’m sick of cold, wet weather.  Sunshine has been sporadic for the past month or so.  Apparently, so far, it’s been the coldest, wettest spring in Melbourne for several years.  Great.  I shouldn’t complain – it would be the same or worse in the Manawatu.

I am still jobless, sadly.  I have applied for a few jobs but haven’t been able to get an interview as the other candidates were of a “high calibre”.  Great.  I am disappointed in the agency I’m signed up with.  I’ve had two phone calls from them in three months.  I called back immediately after missing one of the calls but by the time I managed to contact them, the position had gone.  Thanks.  Not impressed.  The woman I had before was brilliant.  This guy doesn’t sound like he gives a shit.  I saw a job advertised this morning.  It was for a one year contract at the same place I had an interview at late last year.  I figured I should apply for it, after fiddling with my CV again, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it.  The interview had been one of the most humiliating experiences of my life: – a panel of about five people seated around me, unsmiling and unfriendly.  I stuttered, spilt the glass of water, and seemingly didn’t answer their odd questions to their satisfaction.  Just to get to the interview was a one hour tram ride from the CBD.  I can’t go through that experience again.  I willed myself to apply, but then just cried.  I can’t do it.

Some days I’m really depressed about the situation.  Other days I try to think positively and fill the day with interests.  I’ve done a couple of (free) courses online, the latest one being a four-week photography one through RMIT, after a six-week genealogy one through the University of Tasmania.  I am doing weekly blog entries about genealogy.  I have just written another one which has taken most of the day.  When it’s fine (which it certainly isn’t today), I go for walks and take my camera with me.  In the evenings I watch one of many excellent TV series and movies on SBS On Demand.

A trip is planned with the girls in November.  C wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday overseas, so we are going to Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.  If I applied for a job, or got given a temporary contract, I would have to say I can’t work for about three weeks in November/December.  Perhaps I’m better off being unemployed until then, although that’s a long time to be without a job.  The trip is something to look forward to in any case.  I feel in need of a holiday.  It gets very lonely being at home all day every day (even with the company of a cat).

I’m rather disappointed in the lack of communication from some friends.  Perhaps they are embarrassed for me being out of work, after my “great move to better things”.  I don’t want their pity.  Some positivity would be good, but I get nothing at all.  Disappointing.  When I don’t get responses to emails or messages, I feel there’s no point trying again.  Isn’t it rude not to respond?  I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand people.  I found an old email as I was emptying an account before closing it.  I guess I kept the email because it reminded me of the duplicity of some people who call themselves “friends”.  In the email she called me a bitch (among other things).  She said as a friend she could say such things.  Yeah right.  With friends like that, who needs enemies.  She’d said some nasty things about me to others as well, so it’s no loss.  Needless to say, she hasn’t been a friend since.  It just made me aware, after reading it again, that I just don’t understand why some people behave as they do.  What did I do?  I’m totally unaware of whatever they think I’ve done.  I grew up preferring animals to people.  Still do, for that matter.

I’ll continue walking my path alone.


Kalang park, Blackburn



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Friday dawned bright and sunny.  My place of residence doesn’t receive a great deal of light, so it was an opportunity to go out.

I considered returning to Wattle Park and then, perhaps, walking to Aldi from there to buy some groceries.  Then I wondered what groceries I really needed, and that it required a lot of walking.  Then I considered journeying into the CBD to return to the Botanic gardens.  I hadn’t had a lot of success with bird photos there, so looked about on Google for other parks I could get to.  A general search didn’t reveal much, so I then used maps and looked at the green areas close by.

I discovered a green patch with a lake, called Lake Sanctuary, at Blackburn, just three train stops from me.  Clicking on it revealed that it was a place for birdwatching.  That made my mind up.

The forecast had clouds for later in the day so I had a cursory lunch and headed out at 12.15 for the train.  From Blackburn station it was a 15 minute walk to the park.  Lots of kids at the playground near the carpark, so I ventured further in.  I found the track that circled the lake.


There was a bench seat facing the lake so I sat for a while, and saw no birds.  I could hear plenty – rainbow lorikeets, wattlebirds, magpies, all up in the canopy.  I did see a few magpies flying around, and then finally saw a dusky moorhen and a wood duck.  I was about to get up and keep walking, when I spied a white dot on the opposite bank.  I couldn’t really see what it was – a heron?  I got my new camera out and zoomed in.  It was a Nankeen Night Heron!  I was thrilled.


The zoom was fantastic.

I spotted a magpie and rainbow lorikeet in branches above me and attempted to photograph them.



I waited for a couple of women to pass.  They had binoculars so were evidently birdwatchers.  I wondered if they’d seen the night heron.  I walked along further and saw a wood duck on a log, preening and flapping its wings.


The women were paused at a viewpoint further on.  When I approached, they passed by, back to the track.  They didn’t smile, just looked at my camera.  I thought fellow birdwatchers might be friendly (they would’ve seen me taking photos), but not those two.  They walked quite quickly, so I don’t imagine they saw or looked around much.

I crossed to the other side of the lake and walked away swiftly from a whining child who, thankfully, was going in the other direction.  I was walking slowly along one of the tracks…


when I heard what sounded like a grey warbler.  Then I saw movement and discovered it was a fantail.  I hadn’t known until quite recently that fantails were in Australia.  It was a “grey fantail” (they even have different types) and looked like the New Zealand fantail but without the yellow colouring.  Unfortunately, it was too quick for me to capture it.  As soon as I found it with the zoom it flew off.  I continued walking and saw more movement out of the corner of my eye and a little grey bird flew past and then a blue bird.  I gasped and stopped.  There were birds everywhere if I stopped and listened and looked for small movements.  The little blue bird, a superb fairy wren, came out to the path and darted in and out of the grass, seemingly unaware of me.  I tried to get several photos, but again, trying to zoom in on it as well as follow it proved difficult.


It then became aware of me and flew up into a branch and, like many birds, started preening so I couldn’t see its head.


I saw no other birds after that, but did hear them, including brown thornbills.  I sat for a bit but people passed by.  I double-backed, but more people were around so no more birds except the odd wood duck and a Pacific black duck.  I got one more glimpse of the night heron, which had moved a little further along but was still visible for those with a keen eye (or zoom lens).


It had been a very pleasant, and rewarding, walk.  I had spent two hours at the park in total.


One to bear in mind for any visitors.

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As well as NaNoWriMo, there is also WordPress’ NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month where you post something on your blog every day in November, AND Blogging U’s Photography 101 course in November in which you post or take a photo every day. I’d like to do all three, but can I?

The blog posting might be easy – after all one or two sentences would probably do. However, can I take a photo every day again? Having done that for over a year I know how difficult that can be .




I’ve just come up with another idea – a sketch a day! I haven’t drawn anything for years and this would be a way of getting me back into it. Hahahaha! Shall I try it all? Madness!

Of course, I could draw a picture, take a photo of it, then post it in the blog, covering it all!

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September’s weather hasn’t been the greatest, especially in the weekends.

Last weekend I headed over to my bro’s in the Wairarapa.  He had invited neighbours over for dinner and invited me too.  H was working so couldn’t make it.  There were also nine lambs to view!

The weather was crap.  It started off sunny Saturday morning but it was drizzling most of the way.  I like to take snaps while I’m driving.  I know this sounds a really bad idea, but I have my point-and-shoot camera at the ready on the seat beside me.  When I want to I pick it up, turn it on, aim it in the general direction and snap a photo, all with one hand and all while keeping my eyes on the road, and it takes about five seconds – equivalent to fiddling around with music.  Because it’s basically photographing blind, I like to see the results after I get to my destination.  A few examples:

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Obviously with the first one I was stationary, waiting for the train.  Call it experimental, if you like, but I like some of the results.

There were indeed nine little lambs at bro’s, but one of them was sick.  It was bloated and they tried all the usual remedies and hoped it would pull through.  Its sibling had had the same problem and was ok.



They’re so cute at that age.  Then they get fat and boring.

After playing Settlers of Catan, we were sitting at the table and I heard a quail.  Sis-in-law mentioned that she’d once counted 20 quail in front of the house.  It wasn’t until I got up that I saw that there were several quail there while she was speaking!  I counted 14.


The dinner was very nice (as always) and bro’s neighbours were interesting.  One of the women (who just talked and talked and talked) was apparently 60 but she looked in her early 50s.  I wondered what her secret was, apart from dyeing her hair.  She did not look anywhere near 60.

Return journey was much more pleasant weatherwise, and I liked the results of my blind shooting.

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I even got a decent snap of my favourite rocky hill.

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This whole taking-photos-while-driving idea of mine started because the roads are narrow, often with no shoulders, so there is nowhere to stop to take photos of the countryside.  My experiment started out of frustration.  So many beautiful views out there and no way to capture them unless you’re walking (which I wouldn’t recommend).  Having said that, it’s not something I do regularly.

This weekend is extremely windy and rainy, so I’m not venturing out today.  I’ll catch up on things I didn’t get to do last weekend.

Unfortunately, there’s also another “time-waster” which has hold of our attention at the moment.  Grand Theft Auto V.  People are surprised that a female, and especially one my age, plays video games such as GTA.  I love it.  I first bought a PSOne for the kids back in the 90s and I enjoyed it so much, I got hooked on certain games.  Now we have an Xbox 360.  There are only a few games I enjoy playing and the GTA series is my favourite.  This latest one is very pretty.

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I used to play ‘cowboys and Indians’ with my brother as a kid, and played with toy cars, so this is a natural extension.  Besides, I’ve never been a particularly feminine woman (dislike shopping, cooking, the colour pink, etc, etc).  I don’t think I’ve grown up either.  Being orphaned at 24 and living without a partner for over 20 years has meant that I do what I like. 🙂

It’s wild out there – a perfect day to stay inside.

Onto the next thing on my list of things to do…

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I was kindly invited to dinner last night with one other person I knew.  We had a lovely vegetarian meal with wine, sitting outside in the warm evening.  We ate fresh fruit salad after it and the nectarine was the nicest I’ve tasted in many years.  We then headed inside to watch a pagan movie which had only been released last year.  Very quickly into the ‘musical’, I found I was saying to myself “Oh dear”.  I thought it was dreadful, but obviously my hosts (and other pagans on imdb) loved it.  I sat politely through it but couldn’t wait for it to finish so I could go home.  It was very theatrical with really awful ‘special effects’.  I thought it quite amateurish.  Nevertheless, I thanked my host for what was a pleasant evening (the company and food), with a lovely sunset to finish.

Today I took my DSLR to work with no real hope of taking any photos of birds. However, I did see two silvereyes, one feeding the younger one.  I managed to get a couple of photos.


I took my time in the arboretum and sat and had lunch there.  Afterwards, I started walking back to work when I heard fantails.  I stopped and waited, and sure enough a little fantail came closer and flitted about.  They move so quickly, that it’s difficult to get good photos of them.


I took several photos of this one young little fantail and managed to get a couple of good ones.

After work, I headed over to the pond, as I had some bread crusts.  I sat down, readied my camera, and started flinging bits of bread.  Among the ducks was a coot.


Then I spotted the coot’s new baby.


They both wandered off and I saw the coot feeding the baby.


I then headed home very happy.  I’ve discovered that I absolutely love taking photos of birds.  I took 117 photos today, mostly of the fantail and water birds. I deleted 17 fantail ones and others, leaving me with 85 – some not so good, but I like them anyway.  I’ll put the better ones on my deviantart page.

I was supposed to come home and do some painting, but it took me a while to go through photos and then have dinner.  There is only about half an hour of daylight left and I need more than that.  I’ve found I can’t paint by artificial light – I just can’t see properly where I’ve painted.  It might now have to wait until tomorrow or Friday.  I want to get it done so I can do the bathroom flooring!

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There was a vintage weekend event at a town about 50 minutes’ drive away.  The forecast was for morning rain and it did look pretty grey, but then the sun came out occasionally.  I wore a long-sleeved top, jeans and shoes, having read about the rain and a high of about 20deg celsius.

It was a pleasant drive.  The road is a nice one through rolling country.  (Where I live is boringly flat.)  There were scenic vistas deserving of photos but there was nowhere to stop.  When I got to the town, I quickly realised I was overdressed.  Luckily, I’d brought some sandals to replace shoes and socks.

The architecture in the town is lovely, far nicer with more character than my home town.


I wandered around but it was early and nothing much was happening.  The people in the town seemed weird but friendly.  A long-haired old guy on a bike said “Oi! Hello.”  Later, another local stood up after stooping to kiss his girlfriend (who was lying down on an outdoor seat), to say “Good afternoon”.  So funny.

Men were gathered around little steam engines.  I looked in at the tram shed.


The paddle steamer was due to sail at 11am.  I thought about going on it if it was reasonably priced.  Otherwise, I’d take a photo of it leaving.  It cost more than I had anticipated and I walked away.  But then I wondered, what was I going to do all day?  The vintage cars weren’t due on display until 2.30pm.  The boat trip was 3 hours long.  I thought ‘why not?’.  I’d been on a river cruise on the Seine and the Thames, but never in New Zealand.  So I paid and waited.

IMG_1382It was a very pleasant cruise, with a woman singing old popular songs (I wouldn’t call them vintage).  People on the river banks waved at us.


After an hour’s cruise we stopped at a small place for lunch.  There wasn’t much to see apart from a cafe and an old church.


A brass band boarded for the return trip.  They were supposed to play as we approached the town with a flotilla of boats.  There was one boat.


One boat does not a flotilla make.  A couple of speed boats joined us but I wouldn’t call it a flotilla.  Crowds gathered to see the return of the only paddle steamer in the country.


Once on shore, I had a wander to see what should have been a display of vintage cars.  There were about 10, with a few others dating from the 60s, with 2 I’d driven in the 80s – hardly vintage.  If the main purpose of my trip had been to see vintage cars, I would’ve been sadly disappointed.  There were a lot of people hanging around just to see those few cars (so difficult to get good pictures).


Some more cars were due to arrive, so I went off and had something to eat and drink.  The organisers should have known to have more rubbish bins available.


I wandered up to where bands were playing but one band just seemed to be warming up for 10 minutes.  I left, in disgust, to see if any more cars had arrived.  Three had.  I wasn’t prepared to wait any longer.  I headed up the road to the town’s large pond (called a lake) to commune with the ducks and swans.


I heard a lot of bird noise I wasn’t familiar with.  There were heaps of shags (or cormorants – I’m never sure which is which) in a tree, some on nests.  I walked the circuit around the ‘lake’ then headed back to the car and drove back home.

On the way I took a turnoff to a small town, Marton, which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid.  It’s not on the way to anywhere.  You have to specifically go there to see the place.  It was quite a cute town and bigger than I had imagined.  On the way, there was a marvellous view of Mt Ruapehu (maybe one and a half hours’ drive away).


A good day, although there wasn’t a great deal happening at the vintage event.  The day was a scorcher, without a cloud in the sky and I think I got a bit sunburned (even though I used sunblock).

I did learn one thing – always take a photo when you have the opportunity.  I had meant to go back and take a photo of a lovely old building, but didn’t get there.  I saw the view of Mr Ruapehu and thought there was nowhere to stop and that I might be able to stop further along.  I stopped anyway and took a quick snap.  I didn’t see it again.  Lesson learned.

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Starting with Friday after work…

I need new clothes, especially for a hot Australia: sandals, skirt, top and I also need new work pants.  With that in mind, I thought I’d head to KMart (it was open late) to see if there was anything at all there.  Nope.  The sandals on sale at these places either have a very high heel or look like jandals.  Either that or that just don’t fit me.  I was beginning to think there was something wrong with my feet.  Nothing fitted properly and heels slipped off court shoes.  Other shops were soon closing but I had a quick look in a clothing shop.  Nothing.  Headed down to the shoe shop to have a browse.  Saw nothing  and they were all well over $100 (on sale), until I got to the end of the shelves.  I saw a couple of likely sandals and tried them on.  They both fitted comfortably!  Hurray!  They were $79 each – the most I’ve ever spent on shoes, but I bought them.  One item ticked off my list.

This morning was cold.  It looked like being a grey day.  I headed into town with a list of things to do.  I dropped off some vinyl records.  There was nothing I liked at the second-hand clothing shop.  I was recommended another second-hand clothing store of ‘labelled’ clothing in town and had a look in there but there was nothing I liked.  I tried to drop off an electric typewriter at a charity shop, but they didn’t want it, bugger them.  Another piece of junk to add to the ever-growing pile in the garage.  I headed to another clothing store.  I didn’t like most of it – didn’t like the colours or the combinations, or it was too expensive or too long, etc etc.  It’s impossible to find a plain short black top that isn’t a shirt or a t-shirt, it seems.  I saw some colourful dresses on sale in the style that suits me.  I tried it on and it looked quite good.  It was reduced to $35 so a great buy.

Once home, I had lunch, and had intended to get started on the painting of the laundry.  However, while I was eating lunch I was browsing photos and admiring the beauty of the Friesian horse.  Gorgeous.  Suddenly, I wanted to take photos of horses and knew exactly where I’d find them – at the Bridge cafe where I’ve been the last two weeks.  I decided I’d go there via the wind turbine lookout and take some photos there as well.  I stopped on the way to take photos of the view.  It was very windy.  I stopped at the wind turbine lookout but the winds were so strong, I was afraid my car would be pushed over.  I didn’t get out of the car or bother taking any photos.  I continued down the other side of the hill to the cafe.


When I pulled up beside the paddock where the horses have been the past few weeks, they weren’t there.  But I spotted them in a paddock further away.  A walking track passed by that side, so I got my camera and took the track to the other side.  But once I got there, I couldn’t see them because of a rise.  The bush part of the track passed close by so I continued, but had to go off the track to get close to the paddock.  Finally!  I felt quite mad – the things I do for a photograph lately!

I headed back to the car and was rewarded with yet more horses beside the horse trek shed.


Bonus!  Horse-some!

Headed home and finally got to the painting.  I cleaned the other walls and behind the washing machine.  I had intended just repainting one wall and starting on another, but I ended up painting all the laundry walls.  I now need more paint.  The laundry looks way better.  Instead of a mixture of green, pink and orange paint as well as orange floral wallpaper, it’s now all white.

So a very successful day – shopping, a photographic outing, and painting!

Tomorrow another photography trip to another town for a vintage event.  I hope it doesn’t rain.

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