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Sir Terry Watts

Australian Expedition Photography

Where the hills meet the sea
sirterrywatts

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
sirterrywatts

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
sirterrywatts

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.


Black Kookaburras
sirterrywatts

In Australia, the kookaburra is one of Australias most recognisable birds. Often not because of its looks but because of it's an infectious laugh. However, over this month there has been a lot of attention on a black kookaburra in WA that raised international attention for being black in appearance.

In all populations, there are natural variances but an all black gene expression is very rare. Known as melanism, the opposite of albinism however not as common.  The chance of photographing one is even less, so the bird itself is very special.

The easiest way of conceptualising this phenomenon are the breeds of pets we have. Among the possibilities of breeds within a species, such as dogs or cats. You can have cat's that are all brown, spotty, black, white, grey-blue coat. As these breeds begin to specialise they become more unlike. A french bulldog due to the selective breeding of humans is none in comparison to other variations such as german shepherds for example. However, within these breeds, there is still occasional variation in coat colour and genetic conditions such as albinism still occur. However, melanism is the much less known.

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Devastation: 2019 QLD Floods
sirterrywatts

In QLD over the past week, one of the most significant weather events in recent history for this decade just took place.

A cyclone recently pushed through this area, and nearby in Townsville, the previous week was flooded in. However, the remnants to the powerful weather system have gone on to create what could possibly be one of Australia most significant modern natural catastrophes.

Across QLD Farmers have lost hundreds of thousands of livestock. Sheep, cattle, and much more. Not to mention the native wildlife as well. In a recent report from the ABC; Australian Broadcasting TV Channel, a farmer was seen quoting the line "they are all dead".

As a 60-kilometre wide river stretches out to sea, the effects of this event are not over yet. Over the next coming months, we will be able to look further into how Australia as a whole will recover from this natural disaster.


Photo: Australian Beuro of Meteorology

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The Student
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This year's submission into the 2019 portrait awards run by Lens-Culture Magazine: Is set to raise a few eyebrows.

Titled: The Student, features a student with disabilities that undertook one of my short photography classes.

Students come in many forms. However, none like any other are those suffering from disabilities and in need of special care and attention. For many young people during this time, they can feel lonely, lost in the world, and at times defeated before they have had a good shot at the world. Even more so: not being able to express these feelings openly burdens those even more as there is no outward way to counsel these feelings and emotions. By choosing to be a role model, teacher, or a friend of a person with special needs. You could be the one person who brings a smile back from their dark world and gives light, contrast, and meaning to them. This picture represents a powerful moment in my photography classroom where everyone is able to achieve, but also capture the moment that a smile from deep down could no longer be held back.

2019 is shaping up to be a year with a lot of social justice for the youth of Australia. But also internationally as projects like these empower people to express ideas like this through art and photography.


Australia Extream Climate Events
sirterrywatts

It is hard to believe that all 4 of these attached photographs were taken on the same day.

With raging bushfires in Northern NSW, Freezing weather and snow blanketing as it falls in Tasmania, a massive flood in Northern Queensland so big it could be seen from Space, and a Dustorm that descended on Sydney from strong winds across the inland desert.

The big question that would be asked is that if climate extremes exist what do they look like. From here we can see the extent, but also the unspeakable devastation capable from the power of nature alone.


New home new pets
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Now settled into my new job and my new home the local wildlife has also decided to joining me.

Harry is a local redisent who has lived in the area for almost 15 years.

My new home comes with pets included.




Koalas & Climate Change
sirterrywatts

In Australia's top universities this week, scientist are now investigating why Koalas are in need of water. Seen drinking from water bowls and in swimming pools across Australian backyards this month. However, Scientist are now very concerned about observing them drink water.

Koalas usually get all of their water from their diet, as the green vegetation is rich in moisture as well as nutrients. Seeing a koala drink water is quite concerning as they may no longer have everything they need in order to survive in their normal remote habitats. Often they do not have running water, which is of our greatest concern. As it poses complications for these animals in the future scenarios where they will have to find new ways to endure these extream and long lasting heatwaves.

With last months record-breaking summer heatwaves with days above 50 in some areas, and most towns above 40. It is no wonder that even hardened wildlife are seeking water and encroaching within urban areas. However, it raises significant concerns about how climate change will effect our ecosystems. How it will affect Australian native animal and plant populations, and indicate often sharp shifts in climatic patterns.