2012 in pictures

30 12 2012

A selection of what I thought were the best, or most interesting images from the year that was.

A year that took in a yacht delivery from Indo, working in Cairns, a few trips to Perth, a move to Melbourne and a new Canon S100.

ambon mast

View from up the mast while tied to the dock in Ambon, Indonesia onboard SY Kealoha.

IMG_0113

High-dynamic-range shot playing with my new camera at Mornington Peninsula, VIC.
(Appeared in Caravan World!) hahaha

Looking down on some winter trees at Daylesford, VIC

Looking down on some winter trees at Daylesford, VIC

Zipping through north-western Thailand near the Laos border while shooting manually on the G12. Tricky, hence the speedo.

Zipping through north-western Thailand near the Laos border while shooting manually on the G12. Tricky, hence the speedo.

Regurgitator playing Meredith Music Festival taken on a tilt-shift setting late afternoon

Regurgitator playing Meredith Music Festival taken on a tilt-shift setting late afternoon

Does this even need an explanation? Bliss.

Does this even need an explanation? Bliss.

Old Holden rusting peacefully by the side of the road in North Fitzroy, VIC.

Old Holden rusting peacefully by the side of the road in North Fitzroy, VIC.

Winding through the tree-lined corridors of Bright, northern Victoria. A highly-recommended activity.

Winding through the tree-lined corridors of Bright, northern Victoria. A highly-recommended activity.

One shot from an attempted foray into interior commercial photography.  I thought it looked alright.

One shot from an attempted foray into interior commercial photography. I thought it looked alright.

My favourite shot from the recent Melbourne Tweed Ride.

My favourite shot from the recent Melbourne Tweed Ride.

Bridge near my new home - Fairfield, VIC

Bridge near my new home – Fairfield, VIC

Just another frosty beverage. Must be the tropics. Thailand. HTC smartphone photo.

Just another frosty beverage. Must be the tropics. Thailand. HTC smartphone photo.

'Carn the Dockers! First game at the MCG on arrival in Melbourne.

‘Carn the Dockers! First game at the MCG on arrival in Melbourne.

Cape Schank lighthouse, Mornington, VIC.

Cape Schank lighthouse, Mornington, VIC.

Advertisements




mount abrupt

30 12 2012

It was Gooch Week once again.

So called for being the inconsequential part between two important things. Those being Christmas and New Year’s presumably. (Look, I didn’t invent the term, I just think it’s awesome.)

A time for catching up with the family (did not), watching the cricket (it finished early) and for many hospitality workers, earning huge pay packets due to penalty rates (I quit my job).

So…what to do? Something cheap, utilising existing resources. An activity to take my mind off the fact I have a three week Sri Lankan trip coming up and no means to pay for it.

Head for the bush then, eh? Why not?

After calling the Grampians park headquarters to confirm not too many people had the same idea, we headed west. It was only three hours out of Melbourne, through historic Ballarat where they sold me a new gas bottle and the wrong size hose, which would eventually prove problematic.

Our planned 7am departure (beat the crowds, yeh) saw us arrive at the Grampians around 1pm, due to various factors which won’t be discussed in this forum, but luckily those forecast crowds were nowhere to be seen so after cruising a few campsites we pitched the filthy Meredith tent and settled into his ‘n’ hers hammocks. Mine was actually a mattress on the grass, but whatever.

The next few days were spent poring over maps, scrambling up mountains, swimming in creeks, cooking over fires and generally getting into all that good outdoorsy stuff that makes you feel so damn alive, but which you never seem to do often enough.

“It’s good for the soul to get up here,” proclaimed Sharyn as we looked north over the sweeping hazy-blue peaks of various unnamed hills  enormous mountains.

And right she was. It’s too easy to hang in Fitzroy drinking beer, riding bikes, blah blah blah.

But it doesn’t take much effort to throw a tent in the car and head into the eucalypts to burn jaffles over a gas stove of a morning.

Chuck in a stovetop coffee pot and you’re sweet. Even if you don’t have a job anymore.

 

Looking up through my polarised-sunglasses filter.

Looking up through my polarised-sunglasses filter.

*FOOTNOTE. We also spent four or five hours climbing Mount Abrupt. Best name in the Grampians, better than Mount Difficult, for sure. Rising 460m (is that all?), you think you’re nearly at the top, then round a corner to realise you’ve been looking at the wrong hill all along. Lucky we had tuna wraps, and yes Rhys, the packet was opened in the correct manner. All shots from there…

View from the road in. Promising!

 

HDR about halfway up

HDR about halfway up

Refusing to stand TOO close to the edge. Understandably.

Refusing to stand TOO close to the edge. Understandably.

Tree fern looking a lot like some sort of Maori carving

Tree fern looking a lot like some sort of Maori carving

Cropped shot of peaks to the north. Not sure about the 'vivid colour' setting.

Cropped shot of peaks to the north. Not sure about the ‘vivid colour’ setting.

Obligatory 'look, we're up a mountain' shot.

Obligatory ‘look, we’re up a mountain’ shot. Sharyn actually not that short.

Boom. The money shot.

Boom. The money shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





A Pilbara Snapshot: Two

21 07 2012

Consider the case of Goldsworthy.

What?                   Where?

Exactly. No one even remembers it any more.

But Goldsworthy was home to the first iron ore mine in Western Australia, established in the 1960s just outside present-day Port Hedland.

At its peak, the town was home to 700 residents, including my sister’s partner who grew up there among the red iron hills and tree-lined creeks of the Pilbara.

Image

But then the ore ran out.

So in 1994, in accordance with government policy to ‘avoid ghost towns’, the streets were torn up, buildings removed and a whole town was wiped off the map.

Like it was never there.

Image

Many people who call Port Hedland home have probably never heard of Goldsworthy.

But they ought to think about it when considering their own future.

Because what will happen to Port Hedland when the Pilbara’s ore deposits run dry?

You can be damned sure the mining companies won’t stick around.

Why would they?

Gina Rinehart and Twiggy Forrest are only concerned about the bottom line, not about building sustainable futures

Image

You only have to visit the Port Hedland garbage dump to see the scale of their excesses.

Apparently there’s no money in fixing old appliances anymore. Not for the local electricians who work out of town on-site and not for the cashed-up miners who just buy a replacement.

One section of the town dump is reserved solely for retired whitegoods –   a soaring pile of fridges, freezers and washers which probably just needed a tweak.

The plasma screen TV pile is only slightly smaller.

Waste. Excess. Wealth. These are just a few of my favourite things.

Actually they’re some of the reasons I moved to Melbourne.

And not because I envy the rich.

I realized long ago that I value lifestyle too highly to ever become wealthy.

But because I’m sick of hearing about that vacuous shit.

You hear a lot about it in Western Australia.

Who has that job, how much are they making, how big is their TV…

Never mind that these people are living right on the edge of one of the country’s outstanding areas of natural beauty. As featured on Foxtel.

Because, the thing is, the Australian wilderness isn’t friendly.

Spectacular, yep. But harsh, too.

And as Calvin – my sister’s partner  – pointed out, The Bush is simply alien to so many people who have moved up to the desert country in search of their fortune.

Spiky, dusty, dry, long distances;  you gotta earn those views.

Image

Happily, my family in the Pilbara is right into getting outback and getting amongst it.

Hell, they used to live 300km from the nearest supermarket, so an hour’s drive outside Port Hedland was nothing.

Calvin drove us out past Goldsworthy where he grew up, to a deserted river bordered with twisted ghost gums where the only crowds were roaming Brahman cattle.

The kids ran wild in the water, we drank a few beers in the shade of the paperbarks and never once wished we were rich miners watching 52-inch plasma screens in Hedland.

But what do you think, dear readers? This is just one poor, non-miners opinion.

Is it a positive move that we’re tearing holes in the outback and sending our dirt overseas so a small part of the population can become filthy rich?

Should the traditional owners of James Price Point stop whining about a few faded rock paintings that stand in the way of progress?

Or should we just accept all this as the new future while we continue to drive round in petroleum-fuelled steel cars and keep our damn mouths shut? Over to you…………

Image

Hilariously, this is just a small portion of the many, many people who have been banned FOR LIFE from the local pub. The Wall of ‘Fame’.

Wild passionfruit bush snacks

Brady killing it on the soccer field. More or less.





A Pilbara Snapshot : One

16 07 2012

In case you hadn’t heard, Australia, or more specifically North Western Australia, is in the midst of a resources boom.

What does this mean? Simply put, huge swathes of our red desert dirt are being sent to China to be turned into steel so that they can take over the world. Probably.

Closer to home, it also means every second person in WA is earning six figures, pushing prices and rents through the roof, particularly in those towns  lucky enough to be near a mine.

Port Headland is one of those towns. Flat and dusty, there’s not much to recommend it except as a hub to visit some of the incredible country further inland.

And that seems to be how the big mining companies view it too. Not as a bustling coastal community to house their legions of workers, but just as a necessary train stop on the way to more mining dollars.

The town, which comprises Port and South Hedland is simply functional. There are few restaurants or cafes because no one can match the mining salaries.

Ore trains rumble non-stop through town and a salt factory dominates the main road. Every second vehicle is a yellow-striped mine truck and a high-visibility uniforms dominate. It’s like you’re inside some sort of remote industrial plant yourself.

The thing which really struck me was how it seemed no one was looking ahead. There’s been no community investment in the town by the Big Miners who earn so much from it. When the minerals are gone, they’ll pull out and Hedland will have no reason to exist.

It’s just a shame they couldn’t spend a few more bucks to give their workers something nicer to come home to.

Just out of town near an abandoned mining settlement.





What to do in Melbourne town.

21 09 2011

For anyone headed to Melbourne, here’s a selection of things super-cool-shit that kept me occupied around the city.

Accommodation. I stayed at littlegeorgestreet, in Fitzroy; kind of a post-modern B&B that I organised through AirBnB.

The lovely host, Ramona, worked at an organic bakery around the corner so breakfast was a treat. As was her amazing home with its collection of vintage sports equipment. Such a top find and only $60/night.

Ramona's groovy pad

Galleries and stores. So many to choose from, especially ’round Fitzroy. A few standouts were Lamington Drive in Collingwood with its awesome and awesomely cheap prints. Made me long for a house to hang them in.

panelpop goodness

Also Third Drawer Down for quirky gifts, and PanelPop, which prints photos or art onto recycled stone, framed with recycled timber. Freakin’ rad. We also went and checked out Space Invaders – street art at RMIT until Nov.

Bars n t’ings. First morning in Melbourne I focussed on getting lost among its multitude alleys until I stumbled upon Bar Americano, a tiny cafe serving the finest coffee I’ve  had since Italy.

Later that day we hit The Hardware Societe for lunch and then Thousand Pound Bend for a bunch of Doss Blockos beers. Originally, these beers were brewed at a squat in NY, and they come in a paper bag. Ghetto chic, huh? They also taste superb.

Finally to wind up our bar crawl, Anj took us to New Gold Mountain, an unassuming door in Chinatown requiring a phone call to enter and home to gold-standard cocktails.

Other junk. While visiting with my pal KJ, she decided she needed a vintage bicycle. Luckily, just around the corner in Fitzroy, we found Cameron Threthowan, a man dedicated to matching Melburnians with bikes. And boy, does he love his bikes. After enquiring about one stately cycle and pointing out in no uncertain terms I was not a customer, Cam insisted I take a spin, because “…they’re like dogs – they need a good run now and again.”  What a champ.

Also of note was the launch last week of Characters by Stephen Banham; a typographic journey through Melbourne, blending signwriting and storytelling. And regular readers of this column will know just how I feel about typography. I’m buying a copy.





Melbourne love story

21 09 2011

First, some disclosure. I am not a ‘city’ person.

Tall buildings, traffic, throngs of people, green signals which tell me when I can cross the street; these things go against everything I love.

So I went to Melbourne not expecting much. Catch up with some friends, drink some beer, wander about with no real agenda.

I never expected to fall in love. With a city.

But here I am. Four days later. Basking in the glow of our brief affair. Ha.

city love

The best way of describing it, is that Melbourne made sense to me. Now. At this point in my life. with the interests I have and a renewed sense of what it is exactly I value, the city delivered.

The infamous Melbourne weather played the game most beautifully, each day warm, sunny and windy, so I need to keep this fact in mind while examining my infatuation.

But if I compare Perth, the equation is thus: Do I want to be bored in a sterile Mediterranean climate, or excited and inspired in (occasionally) inclement weather. No contest.

So what did I do? What was so damn fine? It wasn’t so much the activities, more the environment as a whole. It was the vibe (apologies to The Castle).

It was the crumbling heritage buildings. The ever-present street art. The shabby, graceful terrace houses with their wrought ironwork. The hidden laneway cafes. The neighbourhood small bar culture. The vegan taco stores, The recycled bicycles. The weird little vintage shops. The creativity. The eccentricity. The promise.

Melbourne made me think there really might be opportunities to follow your passions, to do something outside the square and have it succeed.

It was honestly inspiring.

loving my bike

architecture which perseveres





Action Week

2 08 2011

Last week a friend from NZ came to visit.

A snowboarder from the ruined city of Christchurch, this young lady was no stranger to adventure, so I took it upon myself to organize some kind of Super Itinerary, positively bursting with desirable destinations and outdoorsy pursuits.

This had the dual benefits of showing Erin a few choice pieces of WA real estate, while providing me the chance to piss off from work and have some holiday-style fun myself.

I think we did ok.

In just  two weeks we cycled the Swan River, toured Freo, found a BYO jazz bar, watched The Nextmen at Villa, cruised to Rottnest and back, hit Margaret River, spent three days in the forest around Walpole, played volleyball, attended a festival in Perth and went mountain biking in the Ferguson Valley. All while consuming our body weight in red wine.

Maybe I should be a tour guide. We sure had a ball. Check some pics.



near gas bay, margs

oh my, the brakes have failed...

karri tree carry on

 

 

walpole farmhouse still life

cottesloe beachfront

breakin' bones

elephant rocks, denmark