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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





never enough bicycles

26 11 2012

I THINK it’s possible to pinpoint the moment when I decided I loved bicycles.

It was early 2004 and I was in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, for the first time.

Just outside town was Doi Suthep, fair-sized mountain with a temple on top. And one of the things you do In Chiang Mai, is visit the temple and attempt to enjoy the view back over the city, if it is not shrouded in smog.

But before I ticked that particular box, I met a clever fellow who suggested I hire a bike first, throw it atop the tourist taxi, pay two fares and have my bike driven to the top.

Then, see the temple (OK), check the view (smoggy) and ride back down the winding mountain road. What a genius idea. So much fun, I did it twice.

First time I stuck to the main road where I blasted downhill fast enough to overtake a few scooters. Insane.

Next day I went back, found a muddy trail, rode it for a while, carried my bike down a cliff and then found myself in the national park. Also very fun blasting through their checkpoint on a speeding bicycle without stopping.

This particular thrill definitely falls under simple pleasures:  Propelling yourself along, under your own steam, or with gravity-assistance and just going really, really fast. On a bike. In the open air. In the sunshine. Bliss.

I’ve since been back to Chiang Mai a lot and paid mountain bike outfitters to show me the best trails. I know where they are now and Doi Suthep remains some of the most fun MTBing I’ve experienced.

But it’s not all about rugged muddy mountain bikes.

Melbourne is cycle-mad. And why not? The city is flat and despite rumours to the contrary, the weather is perfect for riding, most of the time.

Station yourself near a bike-path at 5.30pm any afternoon and witness hundreds of cycling commuters doing their thing. Because riding fast is rad.

Since arriving in town, I’ve has a few bicycles pass through my grubby hands.

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The Duck Bike / Coronation Cycles / Raleigh?

First up, was the ‘Duck Bike’- purchased in Thailand last year.  

A sturdy, if hefty example of English cycle engineering. It may or may not be from 1937, but it rides like it could be.

A sticker proclaims “Raleigh. The All-Steel Bicycle.” As if you needed reminding while riding it. And the duck; is a swan.

The DuckBike is currently for sale, but it’s a bit of a niche market for that bicycle. Weird, right?

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The 100-dollar mountain bike.

Bike No.2 was my Melbourne Mountain Bike.

Strode across the rode to my local bike shop, decided their bicycles were very expensive and spotted a few second-hand numbers outside. “How much for that black one?” “Oh you can have that for 100 bucks.” “Sure thing.”

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The new toy. I’ve never owned a new bike before.

New brake assembly, new tyres and I’ve been thrashing that MBC across Victoria since June. I was sad to see it go, but the money is going to a good cause – my new 29er.

A few years back some bike engineer decided bigger wheels would equal less exertion and more fun. When I heard this, I only wanted a bike with 29-inch rims and it’s nearly here. I am pretty excited about that.

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The TreeBike. Profitable.

The TreeBike. One day, while heading out for a ride, I saw a bike leaning against a tree up the street. This seemed odd, as I could see it wasn’t locked up. On inspection, I found a sign that said “Take Me”. So I did, I shined it up and sold it for $200 on Gumtree. Thanks, Treebike.

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Loaner. The bike, that is.

The Loaner. Whilst my current ride was having some new handlebars attached, the lovely folk at Mottaini Cycles gave me a an old single-speed to ride. Wide bars, back-pedal brakes, that thing was solid. I loved riding it.

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A new friend. Fast. Deadly. Delightful.

And finally, the New-Old Bike. The financial success of the TreeBike project got me thinking about fixing up old bikes. So I found a racer for $20 with a bung wheel, got that fixed, then being the sentimental muppet I am, decided to keep her.

Because it is an awesome bicycle. A Repco 10-speed, now with moustache-bars, new brakes, sweet paint job and thanks to my sailing buddies, possibly the best bell in Melbourne. A super-tall frame too, and just beautiful to ride.

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I wasn’t kidding about the bell. And the tone. Oh, my…

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The author at last weekend’s Tweed Ride.





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