Sometimes, as a photographer, you just seem to lose motivation and enthusiasm. You know there are photos out there you want to take, but, well, you just can’t get started and even if you do, you have trouble “seeing” the shots. I’ve been like this for the last few days and it’s frustrating. I sometimes find what helps is to take a macro lens out into your yard with an empty memory card and promise yourself to fill it. This forces you not just to look, but to see. All of a sudden, you are aware that, where there were trees and shrubs before, there are now colonies of wildlife in every little crevice. We are blessed in Australia to have such a huge array of colourful and characterful little chaps just waiting for us to notice them. After a short while, I find myself lost in their carrying-on, waiting from them to land long enough to get a photo or to move just to this place in the shot where they will be framed by their own web. I also find the colours of these little chaps to be so vibrant. The tiny flies covered in iridescent blues and greens, the soft mauves of the butterfies, the incredible intricacy of the webs. I can (and do) lose hours to this and it (hopefully) brings back the ability to “see” a shot on a larger scale. All these shots were taken within 20 metres of my front door this morning and I am certain I have only scratched the surface of this little world under my nose…
Our new farmsit is in Kempsey, in north east NSW. Kempsey nestles in between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, sitting on the might Macleay river. It is the perfect base to explore the region and the choices are many. A very easy drive to the east finds you some of the best beaches in Australia – South West Rocks and Crescent Head to name just a couple. In-between these two, you have the thick bushland of Hat Head national park, with its own peaceful little beachside hamlet. To the west, there is huge choice of national parks and state forests to explore, and I intend to do as many of them as possible.
We drove up here from Melbourne over a couple of long days, stopping in Goulburn, south of Sydney for a night. I had forgotten how beautiful this drive is, with widespread forest and farm land, brief glimpses of water and mighty cuttings through the hills. Starting with the golden farmlands of summer Victoria, everything gets progressively greener the further north you travel. Kempsey itself is verdant, with that definite sub-tropic feel about it.
Our house is set on 33 acres about 16Km from town. We were to have a small flock of sheep to mind, but they were sold the day we arrived. Problems with dog packs had driven Paul, the owner, to sell them off. After loosing 37 head of sheep in one night to a pack of domestic dogs that are not restrained was heartbreaking, so the rest were shipped off. This leaves us in charge of the house, which is wonderful. It is very spacious, with a huge swimming pool, lots of “toys” (motorbikes, quadbike, a variety of ride-on mowers and a couple of Jaguars at our disposal, should we wish to partake…and who wouldn’t! One of our boundaries is the upper reaches of the Macleay River, a large, beautiful and relatively slow flowing affair. I was down there in the early morning and the water was like a mirror, broken by the occasional fish that would leap up to catch some insect on the surface. There are a myriad of birds of many varieties along with lots of dragonflies hovering about. I think I will be spending a few mornings down there…
Our one singularly most important charge for our stay is to look after the child replacement dog, Coco. When I heard that our responsibility was to a miniature poodle, my heart sunk a bit. I’ve never really been one for little dogs. I do have to say that this one has won me over a bit. She plays ball with total enthusiasm, is affectionate without being “in your face”, travels perfectly in the car with not a sound, eats very little, deposits her tiny bits way off in the garden, rarely barks, (and never at me), and is generally an all round good egg. Of course, I still require that Glenda takes her on the lead in public while I walk on the other side of the road…. she is, after all, still a poodle…
I haven’t yet explored much of the region, but what I have has been wonderful. Early morning mists with the sun peaking through lighting up the orb webs, long reflective rivers, birds and insects aplenty and distant mountain ranges tempting me toward them, its going to be a fun few weeks. There is lots to photograph and explore. I even caught a fish! As Glenda might explain, it is the most expensive fish in history, given the money spent recently in resurrecting the tackle, but I’m sure the cost per meal will keep coming down, angling gods willing.
MORE PHOTOS AT http://www.garyberesfordimaging.com
I spent a day recently wandering with friends through the amazing back streets of Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. It’s amazing to see how this place has been transformed over the years, especially in visual terms. The quality of the street art is simply stunning. I sometimes think it’s a pity that this art is so relatively fleeting, but I was talking to one of the artists one day, and he explained that his art will be seen by more people in the short period of its existence, compared to the vast majority of more conventional art that may hang in a gallery for a small time, hang on someone’s wall for a period and then be relegated to the garage where it will languish forever. It is difficult to argue with this logic, and it is always exciting to return to the streets and find what is new, and there is always something new, and the quality just seems to improve all the time.
From the clever, the witty, the poignant and the downright artistically superb, I love it all. Add to this the characters, the small cafes and the general atmosphere, this is one of my favourite regions in my favourite city of Melbourne.
MORE PHOTOS AT http://garyberesfordimaging.com/portfolio/fitzroy-street-art
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Glenda and I spent the last week and a bit looking after a delightful B&B in Trawool, just south of Seymour, Victoria. This is an area that I’ve never really explored before, other than passing though on the way north. The Trawool Shed is situated a stone’s throw from the Goulburn river. This beautiful, fast flowing river is apparently full of a huge variety of fish, trout, murray cod, redfin etc, but our efforts to liberate them came to nought.
The B&B itself is a lovely little green oasis, with spacious manicured gardens, quiet gazebo with comfy chairs, a couple of hammocks and fish ponds with running water to sooth the jangled nerves. The pet friendly accommodation is spacious and extremely comfortable. The property boasts some very productive chickens, which tends towards lovely breakfasts of eggs (and bacon and trimmings etc). They also are a store of amusing entertainment, watching their busy antics.
We had a brilliant time here. Put in charge of a full commercial kitchen, we never even considered eating out. I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to cook in these versus our tiny kitchen at home. We have mastered the poached egg, the omelette, all the trimmings etc. It’s very chuffing to see remarks from the people who have stayed like “The breakfast is incredible”… makes me puff my chest out just a tad.
Our main reason for minding this establishment was to look after the pets, including two beautiful, but very different dog. On the one hand, we had Penny, a stately old black lab who loves a bit of quiet attention. On the other hand, we had Duncan, a short round ball of muscle of a Staffie. He is an absolute character. When he runs, his front legs get into a goose step while his back end gets into a rolling gait. They are both the friendliest of beasts and we miss having them around. There were also five Alpacas, who didn’t take a lot of looking after, but were fun to interact with.
My original purpose with this trips is to photograph the rural countryside and there was plenty of great scenes around to keep my interest. At this time of year, all the hills in the region have taken on a warm, golden colour which compliments the blue skies very nicely. Some people may say I have a bit of an obsession with sheep and cattle, which may well be true. I love photographing them, both close up with their inquisitive faces or as part of a rural backdrop. There was some lovely farmland around, with rolling hills, enormous boulders, pretty little dams and billabongs, and quite a few kangaroos bounding amongst the stock, just to remind us where we were.
The cockatoos and galahs were around in plenty, and again, one can spend time easily watching their interplay. They are beautiful birds visually (if not audibly)
One treat we had was finding the Village Green Cricket Ground. If you start at Strath Creek and meander through the hilly cattle country for about 5 or 6 Km, you come across a green oasis in the middle of nowhere. The ground is surrounded by a white picket fence, the wooden pavilion is beautifully kept with rose gardens in bloom all around. The owners are John and Jan Rogers, the parents of current test cricket opener, Chris Rogers. We were the only visitors that day and John was happy to show us all is great memorabilia, both from day well past and of his Chris’s more recent exploits. We shared a beer or two and then Jan whipped up some scones, jam and cream. It was like stepping back a hundred years to less complicated time.
We had a fantastic time, loved meeting new people who came to stay at the B&B and hope they went away happy and full of a great breakfast. Seriously, if you are after a relaxing getaway, only about an hour from Melbourne, look them up. You won’t be disappointed. You may even find us there again, as we hope to return to look after the place again when the owners, Lindy and Bruce, need another break.
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AT www.garyberesfordimaging.com
Sundown on our first long term housesit, and Glenda & I were very sad to say goodbye. If all our future sits are as marvellous as this one, it will be difficult to come back to reality. Our wonderful house in Jindabyne, courtesy of Donna and Rob, was idyllic… a little touch of bucolic bliss we borrowed for all too short a time. The house itself left nothing to be desired, with all the modcons we could wish for and a level of comfort fit for royalty. We will really miss Oscar, our lovely little canine friend who kept us company every day with walks and rabbit chases. Our ladies, the cackling crew of five Isa Brown hens were hilarious with their busy little antics and their unfailing supply of 5 eggs on a daily basis did nothing to reduce our waistlines (No, we didn’t eat them ALL, but we did put a dint in them!) Scooter the cat was predictable in his sleeping habits. I don’t think I have ever met a cat that sleeps quite this much! Happy to be patted at any time, in fact he fair revelled in it, but would not seek attention at all (except at meal times).
The region is some of the most picturesque in the world, between the mountains, the iconic Australia farmland, dotted with snowgum and huge boulders and the huge Jindabyne lake which plays host to the lovely village. Our trips up into the mountains were memorable for the wildflowers and vast expanse of mountains heading into the distance. It was just amazing and I could sit and take in those scenes forever.
Alas, it’s over now, but we will remember our time there forever. It finished in a lovely social evening with our poor exhausted hosts, Donna, Rob and Ryan, who had driven all the way back after taking the Spirit of Tasmania overnight. I hope all our future hosts are as fantastic as these ones. It really was a wrench to leave, but life goes on and there are more travels to be had.
There are a bunch of photos of our experience here in the galleries on the portfolio section of this website and I will be posting more as I get the inclination to process them. None of them can do justice to the region, but I will try my best.
Gary and Glenda
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AT www.garyberesfordimaging.com under the Portfolio tab
It’s been an eventful year, with one thing and the other. There seemed no better way to end it than up in some of the most spectacular real estate in our land – the high country up around Kosciuszko. It’s quite a hike up to the lookout from Thredbo, but worth every minute. Quite a way to end the year, overlooking Australia from on high. The wildflowers are at their peak currently and a stunning foreground to the layered blue of the mountains in the distance. A magical place at this time of year and highly worth the huff and puff to get up there.
MORE IMAGES AT www.garyberesfordimaging.com
Last December, we watched our first rodeo. The first thing you notice when you walk in, is the hats. Big hats… everywhere, on everyone. Even the babies wear 9 gallon hats. Then, you notice that smell. It is the scent of unbridled testosterone. I mean, this really IS the land where men are men (and the sheep aren’t nervous anymore – they’re used to it). Honestly, these people are tough, honest, no nonsense hard and tough. It’s like stepping into a different world, a world of miller shirts and muscles, whips and embroidered denim. They have to be tough to do what they do. The animals they ride are serious amounts of muscle and animosity. The sole intent is murder, and these men (and women) play with them like they are poodles. They have events for 6 to 11 year olds. They put them on angry animals that are many multiples of their size. It was great to watch, but the men I admired the most for their bravery were the distraction clowns, who put their bodies in the way of these monstrosities after the riders has been unceremoniously “dumped”. And also the rounders, two very serious looking mountain men on horseback who gather up the still bucking horses after each ride. They do it with no fuss, no fanfare and an amount of skill that would make Clancy proud. I came away feeling quite inadequate.. (But unbruised, which is more than I could say for most of them!)