An Interesting Podcast from Taryn Simon

I came across a great podcast by an American photographer, Taryn Simon. She was doing a lecture for TED
“Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography – to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.”

She has been able to get into places that the normal person would not have access to. I am definitely considering purchasing her book just so I can see all her images.

If you have a spare 17 minutes I recommend that you watch it. very interesting.
IF THE EMBEDDED VIDEO DOESN”T WORK CLICK HERE. as TED seems to be having some glitches

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Another nest

birds
We went up to the local shops at lunchtime and I noticed a couple of nervous swallows that were swooping us, then I heard some chirping coming from above and looked up to discover that there was a nest that had been built up the top corner of the shopfront. There was four little chicks in the nest.
Click on the pictures to see them larger


After lunch I went back up with the camera and flash and tried to get some photos. I stood there for a while and managed to get some photos of the chicks in the nest, after a while the parents got used to me and took it in turns to feed the babies. Several people stopped and talked to me, so we ended up with a bit of a gathering at one stage, it didn’t seem to worry the birds, they just kept feeding the chicks.

Because the nest was stuck in the corner I could only get photos from the one angle, so was unable to get any front on shots of the parents.

I plan on going up next weekend to see how much the chicks have grown, hopefully they will still be in the nest.

Swans at Our Local Park



Swans at Our Local Park, originally uploaded by aussiegall.

This morning we took the dog for a walk to the local park. We haven’t been there for a while as we have been off exploring new places.

Last time we were at the park we noticed that the Black swans were sitting on a nest. I took the camera with me this morning hoping to see the family and get some photos and I was not disappointed The entire family were sitting on the bank close to the path and even though they took off into the water, they hung around long enough to let me get some photos. They didn’t like the dog and when she got too close to the water, the adult swans let her know that she wasn’t welcome. There is eight babies but unfortunately I couldn’t get them all in the photo at the same time. The babies look like big puffballs, so soft and fluffy.

birron swansa
I had the Sony and the picture quality was pretty crappy. I plan on going back again this weekend, this time decked out with the Canon,a monopod and a flash and hope to get some better quality photos. Fingers crossed.
birrong swansb

Spring is Here

Spring has definitely arrived and it feels like summer is close behind (it’s supposed to hit 31 degrees celcius on Thursday).
I usually go for a walk most lunchtimes and can’t help but notice an increase in the bird population and the water dragons are also back.

swansTaken 29th September, 2009.

The little pond that we walk to has a couple of new wood duck families, one of them have eight ducklings although today they had 13 in tow, must have been babysitting for another duck.

We also noticed a pair of black swans setting up home on a huge nest and have been watching them over the past couple of months. The mother swan sat on the nest and didn’t appear to move for weeks (we even thought that she had died on the nest at one stage)
We turned up one lunchtime to discover the nest was empty and much to our surprise saw the little baby swan with its parents, swimming around the other end of the pond. It was so cute, like a little ball of white fluff. For the first week or so the parent kept it away from the accessible part of the pond. Now its a little bit bigger they have brought it over to the busier side of the pond. I managed to get a couple of photos of it with its parents. Unfortunately the photos aren’t the best, way too bright and over exposed, even so they are still very cute. I plan on taking my camera with me on our lunchtime strolls, so stay posted for more pictures of it as it grows up.
swans2Taken 16th September, 2009.

Urban Treasures



Tram Warehouse, originally uploaded by mickyg9.

I was surfing through the internet today and stumbled upon a place that really took my interest, the abandoned Rozelle Tram station. I didn’t even know that this place existed and I have lived in Sydney all my life

It was built in 1904 and is located south of Harold Park Raceway, next to Jubilee Oval, Glebe Point.It has stood empty since the 1960’s. It is currently owned by the Harold Park Raceway, who would like to develop it into flats. As the site is heritage listed and sits in the middle of parkland, a stalemate has ensued.
There are also about half a dozen old trams in it that were until recently in near perfect condition (having been sourced for a proposed heritage tram route in the Rocks that was later abandoned). They have now been heavily vandalised and are covered with graffiti.

What an awesome place for a photoshoot.Unfortunately the place is locked up like Fort Knox, although some keen photographers have managed to wiggle their way though a small window and get in there long enough to get some great photos, before being shooed off by the security guards.



…Apocalypto…., originally uploaded by SpaceCadet37.

Another great place that I would love to visit is the Old White Bay Power House.

Located on Victoria Rd White Bay (Rozelle). White Bay Power Station is a heritage-listed former coal-fired power station sitting on 3.8 hectares of land.
This power station was originally built by the Department of Railways to supply more power for Sydney’s growing Electric Tramway System in 1912 (and was later expanded for the City and Suburban Railway Electrification in the mid 1920s).The station was mothballed in 1970, but was retained for emergencies; its last operational use was during the power crisis of 1984. Though modernised and upgraded over the years since first constructed, its interior retains most of the equipment in place when it was finally closed (only 15 years ago). This retained equipment makes it a fairly unique and interesting survivor.
A popular venue for urban exploration groups (such as Cave Clan), photographers and, recently, film and television productions. Productions at the power station include The Matrix Reloaded, Red Planet and numerous Australian television series and advertisements.
They still do the occassional tours through the place. Although a lot of people sneak in there and grab some snaps, see the video below

Rookwood Cemetery

This morning we took Ava for her first on leash walk with us. We decided to go for a walk through the older sections of Rookwood Cemetery. We parked the car near the Serpentine Canal and followed till we came to some bushy tracks, where some of the older original graves from the 1800s were. The best time to visit the Serpentine canal is in december, they have mass planted Agapanthas along the length of the canal and they look spectacular in flower. Also the three ponds along the canal have several different types of water lilies and these are in flower as well.

Wisteria
wisteriaa

There was so many flowers in bloom. Azaleas,Wisteria, Fresias, Robina, Watsonias, Succulents, Roses and many, many more.
Click on the images below to make view them larger.

Meet Our Newest Family Member

Ava
We decided that since it has been over a year since Becky passed away, it was time to get another dog. We wanted a dog that had the same good nature and temperament as Becky and decided that a Kelpie/ Kelpie X would be the breed for us.

After some searching and some disappointments, we found Ava. She is a 6 month old Working Kelpie, who was rescued from the pound by Petrescue From what we can tell she must have been mistreated by her original owners as she is very timid and skittish.

We picked her up from her foster home at Singleton last Sunday and since then she is quickly gaining trust and confidence in her new home.

She spent most of this evening exploring the backyard and we found that she had discovered the fish pond and gone for an evening dip, you can’t blame her though, the weather has been so unseasonably warm. She then decided that our bed would be a great place to dry off ( my fault, I forgot to shut the bedroom door)

I plan to post regular images and clips of her on the blog. I also plan to blog every couple of days. I have so many photos and information on the Sydney area and places that we go for walks, its a shame not to do something with it.

Those Amazing Blue Banded Bees

When we moved into our house 8 years ago, we had no gardens only a few established trees. This was wonderful as it meant that we could have the gardens exactly how we wanted them. I also made an effort not to use any pesticides and to keep the garden and surrounds as organic as possible.

The yard evolved over the years and with more and more plants and sheltered areas, the bugs, birds and animals multiplied.

I started to notice that we had more than just your regular honeybee visiting the garden. I noticed that there was also half a dozen different species of native bees that visited. So I spent ages watching and photographing them and then surfing the internet to find out more about them. Unfortunately there is not a lot of  information about them.

My favourite bee is the Blue Banded Bee (Amegilla Cingulata) They are the prettiest of the Australian native bees. They have a gold/brown furry head and thorax and they have a shiny black abdomen that has pale blue bands on it (the males have five bands the females only have four)

Because they are buzz pollinators you can always hear when they are around, they make a loud buzzing noise when they land on flower. The vibration from the buzz makes the flowers drop their pollen. They tend to favor purple and blue flowers so I have mass planted Salvia Mystic Spires, Bog Sage, some other Salvias, Native Daisies and a Duranta which are their favorites.

They are a solitary bee and do not live in hives like the honeybee. Instead they burrow into soft rock or mortar. The females make the burrows, in the end of the burrow is an egg with a pollen/nectar mixture for the emerging larva. The larva stay there during the cooler months and start to emerge when the weather warms up.

The males are not so comfortable. They are left to roost on twigs at night, hanging on with their mandibles. I first noticed them in groups of three and fours but nowdays there can be as many as eight roosting together on a twig. I have one group that roost on my Passionfruit vine each night another group roosts on some dead twigs in a tree in my backyard. See the picture below.

As they are open to the elements they only live through the warmer months. I usually notice their appearance around the end of October and then their numbers start to dwindle around the end of March. The group that slept on the Passionfruit vine have disappeared but I am still noticing one or two bees buzzing around in the garden. They will probably all be gone by the end of this month as they cannot survive the cold nights.

I have stumbled across a Native Bee website and they give instructions on how to make nest blocks for them. I plan on having them ready for October, hopefully this means that I will be able to watch them closer and have more photo opportunities. Here is the website if you are interested in learning more. Scroll down to Article 8.

http://www.aussiebee.com.au/abol-current.html#abol008

Unfortunately it seems that a large amount of the Australian population are not aware of these bees. The only reason that I really noticed them is because I spend so much time hunting around in my garden to find things to take photos of. My passion is macro photography and these little bees are great subjects.

I will be blogging about other Aussie bees. Some even more amazing than the Blue banded bees.

Thanks to the following sites as they helped me with some of the information:-

http://www.aussiebee.com.au/index.html

http://www.faunanet.gov.au/wos/factfile.cfm?Fact_ID=243


Hello World

30 Days of Gratitude- Day 1, originally uploaded by aussiegall.

Several months ago I decided that I would have a go at blogging, life got a bit hectic so I kept on putting it off until now.

Tonight I decided to bite the bullet and make a start, so here I am.
I am a blog virgin, so be gentle with me.

What will my blog be about ? Lots of things, photography, gardening, insects, yoga, meditation and whatever else that I find interesting in my journey through life.

Thanks for dropping by. Now I’m off to get some inspiration from other peoples blogs.