NSW Bushfires 2019 - Australia

This year we have been battaling bushfires months earlier than normal. In solidarity with the fire chiefs of both Australia and America, this trend is becoming more prevalant. As previously 4 motnhs of the year were prone to fire, now we face an extended extream fire season. With large fires starting in August for us, at others that start all the way till late Febuary. With no other explanation other than that our changing climate.

At present fore the first time in living memory, Sydney and most of the coastline has been put on a 'catastrpphic' fire warning in NSW. With uncontrolled fires sweeping NSW. As a result: because the school that I teach at is surrounded by the Ku-ring-gai National Park, we have been advised to close. As powerfull, hot, and dry winds beat down the gully filled with smoke. Hospitals are also afraid of opperating, due to power outages. Nearby my own house is also at the highest possible risk. I am listening to the radio, with the intent to leave if advised at any moment. As there is no support and no chance of fighting any fire, should it take hold.

My close firends in regional NSW however have lost much more. Armidale is cloaked in a thick smoke making it difficult to breath. North in Torrington and Wytilbah near Glen Innis NSW, many friends have lost their houses to fire. With all surrounding houses lost and even the only school. Seen on the TV this morning, a man in a white ute was making his way out of the destruction zone. In tears and scared for his life, he could hardly talk on camera because two of his friends had died trying to escape.

Currently there is only sadness and anger at the uncontrolled fires, directed at our prime minester and liberal government. Who still refuse to take on board policies taking climate change into account. Refuseing to meet with head fire chiefs warning of these changes and trends in our region. Refusing to talk about the buget cuts to the rural fire bregades, and much more. He is going to have a lot to answer for in the next few coming days.

Today, all I can do is listen to the radio for more news. The Salvation Army has asked for tinned food, blankets, and also furniture to give back to the people of reginal NSW. Our community is sending up what he have, and charities are giving almost all they have to the victims. Opening their doors to take in those in need, and giving hope to those who have lost everything.

The Wytilbah Fire

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Familiar Faces - Pacific Seagulls

Sticking with a theme of more common birds in and around the local outdoors, the pacific gull is probably one of the most recognised seaside birds. If not the number 1 thing associated with a walk along a beach.

Gulls in Australia are known like many others around the globe are known to exhibit scavenging behaviours. In some cases competition for food can get so savere that the birds become agressive to people sitting and trying to have an afternoon picknick. Which has tarnished their reputation for a while now.

Never the less, a day by the sea to clear and refresh the mind is always refreshing. A place where you can leave all the sqauking and squabaling either behind or in front of you.

Familiar Faces - Ravens

One of Australias most recognisable birds.

Todays photograph was taken on the edge of the Kuringai National Park. Towards the summer months, I am expecting to see many of them flying around looking for food. This includes the city areas at which they have adapted some scavenging behaviours. Being intellegent enouph to work out where the food is and how to get it.

Black on Black is allways hard to photograph, but this was a good attempt showing the eyes, wings, and feet that would otherwise be very defficult to capture in full sunlight. A nice start to the week.

Rivers of light

Whilst exploring my new hometown, it has been essential to take a light meter and a camera on my afternoon walks.

The Northern Beaches are dotted with yachts and marintime enthusiast. Among the open marine environment there are mudflats, mangroves, and wildlife thougout. But it is the way that the afternoon light hits the water that has been grabbing my attention ever since returning from the Australian Outback. I have been trying to capture how it interacts with the landscape, and what a better way to do so than in black and white.

Seen here, is the way water interacts with the landscape, and how it can transform into rivers of light.


2nd Place - By as close as 20 votes.

Appearing after a good break from the photography world. No, I am not dead.

Things have never been buiser and competition results have started coming back in. Earlier this year: communications included nominations for the Panasonic, Australian Photographer Of The Year. But also the results from the semi professional sections of the world, such as Lens-culture and the Independent Photographer Magasine. Overall I think the smaller ones, such as the wildlife conservitorium are more for my field of work though.

I have been sorting through the tens of thousands of photographs from all around Australia. My new job is very important, taking on teaching both Chemistery and Biology over a full time level. The most rewarding aspect is teahging year 5 and 6; because, engeging young minds at 9-12yo age is very important to later scusess in Science. I feel quite blessed to be working for such a wonderfull school.

Another time consuming activity was undertaking the process to become a National Geographic Ceryified Educator. Thankfuly the 3 month course with National Geographic was scusessfull. A post will be made later, detailing what its all about and why Nat/Geo Educators are needed in the world at the moment. Essentially it alignes our teaching style, to the connections between the Human and Natural world.

Anyway - In a very impromptue style. My first podium finish with Guru-Shots Photograph Game. I am very pleased with the result, and will be mentioning it a fair bit at work today. This year, I have had a few top 100 and 1000 finishes. Then out of knowhere a 2nd place. Which if anything is a learning experiance. Sometimes it could be just down to luck at the end of the day.


Snow Across NSW

Across parts of Northern NSW and the highlands there was a hive of activity as snow fell, breaking what has been a really dry start to Winter. Enouph fell in order to open the ski season in Mt Perisher early this year. Also bringing joy to the rural towns of Northern NSW.

Whilst I have been indoor suffering from a really bad flu, enouph to also loose my voice. I was able to see many pictures from friends and others useing the current hashtags on social media to enjoy the snow from my warm and comfortable home in Sydney.

This years winter was quite warm, until an east coast low weather event took presidence, bringing winter to us almost overnight. Most of us were aclimatised to the unseasonably warm 28 degrees celcius average at lunchtime. Before the wind braught in a very different reality and the temperatures quickly dropped. Out in rural NSW the warmest temperatures have been averageing between 5 and 8 degrees on average. Which is cold in Australian terms.

The award for the coldest town overnight last week goes to Guyra NSW, recording a crisp -16 dgrees. Having lived and worked at schools in the New England region before, I can certainly say there is nothing like staying home and enjoying the snow from the view of a warm fireplace.

Photo: Highland Cow in Guyra NSW, Photographer Unknown

Land-Rover Defender

It would appear that Tata Motors India: who own the Jaguar-Land-Rover Group brand has officially made up its mind on the new Defender. A Hybrid off road vehicle with air-bag suspension and a raft of rather odd styling twists.

Many Land-Rover enthusiast watched the last Defender roll off the Solihull production line in 2017, and it was about as sombre as a funeral for the much loved and iconic Defender.

As the story of the new Land-Rover Defender took shape over the last few months, it was very apparent that teams of photographers, naturalist, and desert dwellers will be maintaining their Land-rovers until the end of the petrol/diesel industry. As we are almost all in agreement that this is entirely unsuitable to our needs or cope with the extreme conditions that older Land-Rovers could.

The only way of describing why almost every crack team of explorers are unhappy, is as follows: That if you signed up for a weekends sailing experience at a holiday resort, and it was cancelled. You would be disappointed. If the resort offered you a motorboat for the same cost or a bit more as an alternative activity you would be most likely to take your money elsewhere. Simply because its not what you initially set your heart on. Being the experience, nostalgia, and prestige that first captured your minds attention.

With no doubt in motoring enthusiast's minds, it has been a disappointment as our dream of buying new defenders so we could step out of our knackered 110's and tdi Discoveries, is over. But there is one thing for sure: anyone who works at Land-Rover designing them won't buy them, and neither will all of the critics who are raving about them, and giving them awards in the papers. Leaving a very small select market of people who may also be: not that interested either.

Australia's Classic 18ft Skiffs

'Mascotte' being persued by 'Trade Wind' on Sydney Harbour.

Looking back on the photographs taken in during the outbreak of war, I was lucky to find this picture of two skiffs sailing along Long Nose Point near Bailmain. With the hulks in the backgrounds, and coal ships heading to the Mortlake Gasworks.

Its a lucky photograph as in the hight of WW2, Sailing on Sydney Harbour was prohibited, and boats for recreation purposs were sent upstream. Later ordered to be moved west after the attack by the Japanese Mini Submarines. Things were much more serious and uncertain back then.

Looking at these old photographs, it is very easy for any person who grew up by the water to cast themselves back into those early years of Australias history. Improtant both as points in history, and also in the cultural identifity of Australia doveloping nation at the time.


Golden Evenings

The late Autumn evenings on the coast have recently given light to some amasing long and golden sunsets. These have been so strong you only need a phone to capture the moment. Helping the situation are the wood fires that let out smoke as the air temperature drops away in the evening. Adding to a warm and husky golden hue in the atmosphere.

Todays picture is taken at one of my favorite locations, near the sailing club at Toukley. The boat out in front is owned by an old friend of mine, and the waters of an evening are useually calm like this. Although still a bit windy in the afternoon, the inner shorline is useually mirror smooth. While the boat rounded towards the shorline, the sparrows took flight, and a fish jumped from the water in front. It helped make a bit of drama to what would be a rather bland open scene.



Street Photography - Lens-culture 2019

Today I am happy to announce my 2019 entry to the Lenscurture Street Photography Awards.

Title: Bleak.

This photo is a bleak reflection on the way society interacts with its own built environment. If you don't find this image concerning, you might also be part of the problem. For an urban environment it is quite dull, and the sense of space is rather filled with a notion of emptiness. The large bleached skyline splits the image down the middle only to highlight the delivery boys bicycle that has been damaged, and had its remaining parts stolen. But by who, as there seems to be nobody around? If there was anyone, they have only to leave their rubbish behind in bike's basket. The artwork in the background also seems to be looking towards the bike in a rather apathetic manner as well. The reality is bleak, in a manner that this rather faceless landscape and society is in fact: normal.