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Sir Terry Watts

Australian Expedition Photography

Snow Across NSW
sirterrywatts

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
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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
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'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
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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
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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.


Australia: 3 species of Common Wombats
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As it would turn out recently in 2019 we discovered that Australia has in fact, has 3 species of Common Wombats. also known as the Short Haired Wombat, or the Bare Nosed Wombat.  Which is rather embarrassing as anyone would almost complain that we should have known by now. However, the reasons behind their discovery are much more complex.

The 3 wombats were discovered over the distance of the Bass Streight towards Tasmania. Featuring as of now; The Tasmanian Wombat, The Bass Streight Wombat, and The Australian Mainland: Bare Nosed Wombat. In Comparison, the only other previously known species was the Hairy-Nosed Wombat, which lives in Northern NSW and QLD.

The Tasmanian Wombat is much similar to those on the mainland and is only a bit smaller in adult size. However, it is unable to breed with wombats from the mainland. Notably it also carries a bit more fur to deal with the temperamental climate coming off the Antarctic.

The Bass Streight Wombat is the smallest of the 3. Originally the research found that it was related to the wombats from the Flinders Islands like all other common wombats. This discovery is very important as these small islands only have a very small population. The way we manage and protect these wombats as a result of this new knowledge, is now a subject of conservation and environmental protection.

The Bare Nosed, Common Wombat of the Australian Mainland is the largest of the 3 species. This is the most common species of wombat in Australia. Simply due to the size of the mainland.

These changes, are believed to be the product of geographic isolation over millions of years. These species are all related by DNA; however, they are all diffrent species and are unable to breed and produce offspring. The key finding in this study is again the oddity and unexpected discovery of wombat speciation in the Tasman Streight. More, that the study and inquiry into the field of Australian wildlife is still ongoing.


Where the hills meet the sea
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In Australia, one of the many landmarks you cannot avoid for too long is the sea. Here the water appears to stretch out endlessly towards the sky in through the deep hills of the Northern Beaches.

This picture was taken using my Mavic Pro - Drone. The quadcopter had not had much use since moving indoors. So I decided to take it out to fly it around for a bit. In Sydney, there is a surprising amount of angry people who don't approve of drones. I rather think it is a political stance rather than anything else. As without it, I would not have been able to take this wonderfully simple picture.

Over the next 2 weeks: it is the Australian School Holidays. Being a Science Teacher, I am now free to take my cameras back out into the wild. I will see what I can find. The woodlands of NSW allways have some surprises to reveal and what better timing than right at the start of Autumn. Its time to dust off the hiking boots.



Eastern Grey Kangaroo
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Today I was lucky enouph to spot some grey kangaroos in the soft Autumn light that is enriching the early afternoons. As Australia's daylight hours shorten into Winter, this light represents an exceptionally good oppertunity to capture the detail in the kangaroos fine fur.

Eastern Grey's this time of year can be found hanging in mobs up to 8. They are also getting ready for Winter by growing their coats, to help with the extra cold mornings. In this light their coat has turned to a wonderfull gold colour, that shimmers in the late afternoon sun.

These encouters in the great Kur-rin-gai National Park North of Sydney are worth the special effort after work. Soon the School holidays will also be here, and it will be time to pack my hiking bag and set off on a weeks journey into the Australian Bush.


Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
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From the sky it is easy to see the vast stretches of land that cover the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

On the outskirts of Northern Sydney this natrual landscape is hard to quantifi. From the air we can see the rolling hills, helped to be defined by the shadow of a cloud drifting over the top. There are numerous roads, tracks, and trails throught. Later in the week it may even be time to get on a horse and cover some more ground. As its faster than walking and a motorbike would be too dangerous.

Below; the endless forest of eucalypt gum trees, eatch about 10m tall.


Exploring around home
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This week I decided to start the process of exploring around my new home. Choosing a home on the Northern Beaches was not as easy as a task as you may think, but after some time I have settled into a new home only 5 minuets away from this: the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Living on the doorstep of the Ku-ring-gai Chase, in North Sydney. I am uncovering many often well hidden gems and natural wonders that would often go unseen. At the top of the gully is a road leading over the creek which has this cascade of waterfalls. The road is mainly used by the rich and wealthy to test and drive their $100,000 sportscars up as fast as they can. Otherwsie there are also so many other people who pass this area everyday that may otherwise never see this waterfall. By taking some time out today, I have found a wonderfull spot to visit and take some time out. Perhaps also returning with a camera, and not just an iPhone.

The start of the year has been very busy seeking and starting a new role as a Science Teacher. I am thrilled to have started work as a great school, and have also had the chance to live closer to family for the first time in many years.  Being so close to such a natural wonder, will lead to many more wildlife encounters while wandering these new landscapes. As allways: its the start of somthing grand.