My first post on this blog was a photo of a kookabura in the early morning light sitting on my balcony. Seven months on I’m still going with the blog and I got another chance to snap a kookabura — on a friend’s balcony this time. A few seconds later a whole flock of them flew down from the trees. Nice of them all to pose for me!
And a big surf usually means the bombora is working. It’s a submerged rock, or reef, about 1km offshore from Manly Beach, which probably only breaks a handful of times a year. I saw three people out there surfing it this afternoon. It looked as though they paddled out, which means they’re either really fit or they don’t have a friend with a jet-ski to tow them out. The bombie is not for the faint-hearted, most surfers are put off by the long paddle out, then the size of the wave when you get there. I love watching it break and while it might look like a big wave to me, to ‘proper surfers’ it’s probably not big at all. Queenscliff Bombora was first surfed over 50 years ago, there’s a history here.
And here’s a clipping of a photo that appeared in the British newspaper The Times on March 29, 2006. The guy surfing Queenscliff bombie isn’t named, the shot was taken by Guy Finlay of Icon Images. It’s great that ‘our’ bombie made it into the British press. I think I need a more powerful lens!
I was lucky enough to get on board one of Sea Shepherd’s vessels when it was in Sydney recently. This is the ‘Bob Barker’ one of three boats that will travel down to Antarctica this summer to chase the Japanese whaling fleet as they hunt for minke whales under the guise of ‘research’. Marine activist group Sea Shepherd (a bit like Greenpeace but much more radical) have been down to the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary to harass the whalers for the past seven years. The Australian government is opposed to the whaling activity and agrees that it’s illegal, but doesn’t seem to do much about it. We got a tour around the boat, met the crew and captain Paul Watson and travelled with them as they brought the ship from the inner harbour to Circular Quay. Here’s a video we made.
What an awesome way to have fun! When the nor’easter blows like this it’s no good for surfing, but out come the kite surfers. Even without the jumping, this must be an amazing feeling — ripping along with a canopy full of wind. Years ago I used to enjoy windsurfing. I loved pulling the sail in tight, leaning back on my harness and feeling the board rise up and plane across the water. Kite surfing must be that feeling x 10. I had so much fun photographing these kite surfers, a couple of them were flying along close to the shore — I guess to make maximum use of the fairly small waves — which gave me a perfect chance to tap into my ‘inner sports-photographer’. (Now that’s what I’d like to be when I grow up)
Why do I like staring at the moon? Every month I look forward to the full moooooooon. It looks truly amazing through a pair of really powerful binoculars. You can see so much detail — the surface with craters, ravines, valleys, plains. And it looks so close that you could touch it. Not so great in this photo of mine… but you get the idea. This was taken one day before the full moon, although it looks pretty full to me. Is this auspicious or what? The full moon occurs this month on November 11th — 11/11/11. A palindrome on a full moon. Spoooooky!
Summer seems to have arrived early. Hot days and balmy nights and it’s only the first week of November! Here’s the day in pictures taken from my balcony: The sun rose to a partly cloudy sky. The air seemed to get thicker and thicker as the day heated up.
It all came to a head late in the afternoon. Swampy storm clouds rolled in and dumped heavy rain all over the city, causing commuter chaos. I was in the pool at the time and they cleared everyone out because an electric storm was passing over us.
Later on the storms rumbled out to sea giving us a fantastic light-show this evening. It took me a while to figure how to take a lightening shot — full-manual mode, on a tripod, longish exposure, high ISO and lots of luck to get the timing right.
Blue bottles, also known as stingers, are common in the warmer months. These little blow-ins come in with onshore winds and are the scourge of swimmers. The long tail is the nasty end and they can be several feet long — perfect for getting wrapped about your arms or legs. The sting burns at first, but the pain usually only lasts about an hour. An occupation hazard if you want to enjoy the water all year round.