Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spring on Mt Tamborine 2014

A short video made of our weekend visit to Mt Tamborine. There were several Open Gardens to wander around, we started our visit in the Botanical Gardens and then explored the private gardens.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Experimenting with a new Video host

Everyone knows "Youtube"is for video! If you are interested in having multiple views so you can boast about how popular your video is then Youtube is the place to be. I recently heard about Wistia and decided to check it out. This is a video hosting site primarily for people who have web pages that promote products but there is a special offer that interests the hobby videomaker and that is to have a free account so videos can be linked to Facebook and Blogs.
I took some snippets of video at a recent event and edited them together - and making the snippets even shorter - just to try things out for myself.
I doubt if you will be too enamoured by the music - by being close to the large speakers I have very distorted sound - plus the sound from Korea and from Japan is very different to Western music.

I am happy with the quality of the video that I am getting from Wistia - uploaded from my MacPro as a Quicktime movie and converted by Wistia. I hope you find the video interesting. The Gold Coast, which is 75klm South of Brisbane is home to people who originated in many different countries. Approximately 33% are from places other than Australia so we have a very rich mix of cultures. Wonderful!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It was an uneventful ride back home from our holiday camp site at Ballina. We have stayed in cabins before and to my way of thinking it makes a lot of sense to book a cabin for a couple of nights than to go to the expense of owning, outfitting and towing a caravan and then have to find some place to stow the van in the months that it is not used. We have stayed in a few different caravan park cabins and were only unhappy about one - and that was because of all the cockroaches that came out when the lights went out - we ended up keeping the lights on all night! Ugh!
We had a great "welcome home" and almost immediately my son arrived and he and Colin started to put up the camper trailer in the back yard - teenage granddaughter and friends were going to have a birthday camp-out.
This event had been planned for her birthday in May but it happened to rain and spoil the fun. So today is not really Taylah's birthday but she and eight other girls are going to have a sleepless night tonight safe in our back yard!
Pizza and lollies and a cheesecake have been devoured and I am sure they are all hyped up with coca-cola too! They have had a camp fire - which has now burned down to a little glow and they are all cosy inside the big tent - we put a sealed electric/oil radiator in with them because the nights are so cold (and because this sort of heater cannot cause a fire).
Here Colin and Taylah's little sister are helping to get the trailer ready for the night.
It will be interesting in the morning to see how tired the girls are! I wonder how many ghost stories will be told!

Friday, June 27, 2014

One day in history

Each day we had passed a tourist sign that pointed down a side road to Patchs beach (not a spelling mistake, its possible there was a person named Patchs). Today we followed that road to take a look. It was worth the effort. The beach is another part of that same beach that is close to the caravan park where we are staying and the sand stretches for miles into the far distance. I could just make out the glint of sunlight on the window of a vehicle but not the vehicle.
The beach is used by surf fishermen and in different places there is access to the beach for four wheel drives. Not far from where we walked to the sand I spotted a single man up to his waist in the sea gamely trying his best to catch a meal.
Leaving the fisherman behind we again drove from Wardell to Alstonville because the scenery is so beautiful along that road. This time we were to visit the house of one of the founding members of the township, Ambrose Crawford. It has been converted into a museum.
The house is weatherboard and was Crawford's second house, built especially for his wife. Their first home was a very simple cottage and that no longer exists.
When the family moved out the house was gifted to the local council and it was used for as a baby clinic and as a base for Meals on Wheels but a few years ago the Historical Society asked for and were given the building to create a museum of life in the early 20th century. One of the active members of this society is one of the daughters of the family that lived here, she is now in her nineties. We were lucky enough to be looking around the house when she called in and she pointed out this telephone that she told us was installed in 1913 and told how she would love to listen in to the conversations with the earpiece held to her ear.
Each of the rooms was displayed to show off different features and apparently the displays are changed fortnightly. In the bedroom was a collection of childrens clothing and toys. One large standing doll caught my attention, it was the size of a four year old child and had the most beautiful face and jointed arms and legs. It was standing as if looking down into a little dolls bed in which lay another small doll.
In the living room was yet another doll, this time a full sized adult. Maybe this was a shop display doll. Again the face was beautiful. The pianola (I think that is what it is) was a popular piece of furniture in the 1920's. I have a friend who treasures his old pianola and has hundreds of rolls of music.
Our holiday in the Ballina area is at an end and tomorrow we drive home again to continue with our regular lives. It will be good to be home but I have enjoyed seeing so many of the interesting places down here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Definitely a beach day

I learned today why that group of school children were learning about Aboriginal culture in the park near Iluka. Today is Naidoc Day – a day of reconciliation for Aboriginal,Torres Strait Islanders and non indigenous people. (Do a Google search to learn more!) Festivals with demonstrations, stalls and activities were held all over the country to bring people together.
But it wasn't until the day was almost over that I learned about this. So we visited the town of Ballina and wandered around, me with a camera and Colin with patience! I was enjoying the public art along the foreshore.
Here are a few that I managed to “shoot”.

It is appropriate that fish and pelicans are topics for art. This town must have the most recreational fishermen in Australia! Of course, where fish are to be cleaned there are pelicans to clean up the mess! There are real pelicans on every patch of water.

Later in the afternoon Colin and I sat under trees at another little seaside resort called Lennox Heads and while we sat and chatted we were visited by a few different birds.
This is a scrub turkey. Unlike domestic turkeys, this one is not good to eat – an old joke is that you pluck it and put it in a pan with water and a large stone. After two hours cooking, you throw out the bird and eat the stone.
The Mickey Miner is a fun bird that is quite cheeky. It can often be found around picnic tables hoping for a handout! It is a common native bird that can be found almost everywhere around Australia.
The Butcher Bird is just fractionally larger than Mickey Miner (these are the “common” names) and it too loves to beg for treats around picnic tables. This one treated us to a beautiful little song as it tried to tell us that it was absolutely starving, hungry!
Now to share two pictures of the beach at Lennox Heads.
The first camera shot is looking towards the headland and the township.
The second is aimed in the opposite direction. We are into winter (with snow down south) so it would be unusual to see swimmers in the water – mind you the water temperature is actually warmer than the outside air temperature. It is 23 degrees C! Look at all that beautiful sand – the beaches down this way are gorgeous!
Tomorrow Colina and I will head inland away from the beaches. I love the countryside around here. It is very attractive with hills, trees, waterfalls, rainforests, cattle grazing on lush green fields and winding roads.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beaches and forests

Staying so close to a beach I just had to make the effort to get at least one sunrise over the sea. Back home I am surrounded by tall trees so although I do see colour in the sky it is short lived and unsuited to a photograph. This was my opportunity!
It was cold! Further south they are having snow and blizzards and the chill reached up to us this morning! Brrr! However I resisted the urge to snuggle down into the bedclothes and dressed in warm fleece and waterproof jacket to sheild from the wind I lugged my heavy tripod and my trusty Nikon across the sand dunes to the beach. The dune ground cover didn't offer an interesting foreground interest so I had to let the sky take centre stage. What looked as though it would be a spectacular display turned out to be a disappointment with clouds racing in and denying me a sight of the sun rising. However I did get quite a few pretty shots, thanks to my 200mm lens.
It was great to return to a hot shower and breakfast! An invigorating start to the day!
On the way out for our day's exploration, we stopped briefly to take a couple of pictures of the smallest Post Office in NSW. It looks as if one of the veranda railings has been broken and temporary plastic fencing put up to stop customers falling off !
This is the Empire Vale post Office on the Richmond River a few kilometers from Wardell. Empire Vale is a tiny little town – a “blink and you'll miss it” town. Colin and I drive through Empire Vale every day either on the way out or on the way back to the caravan park when we choose not to use the ferry across the river.
Our car trip took us first to Evans Head where we first visited a small sandy bay that even on this cool morning attracted a couple of young boys who, when we were leaving, were splashing happily in the waters edge.
Driving up the hill above this beach we were able to look down on the attractive coastline. Evans Head is a very popular (quiet) holiday destination. I can see why.
On the way to see another holiday destination I took a turn into what was signed as Shark Bay Picnic Grounds and when we left the car we were surprised to hear the sound of many young children. We did not intrude on the groups of children and their teachers but it appeared that an entire school was being conducted here in on the lawns of the picnic area or on the beach and the subject was evidently Aboriginal culture. One group was playing rhythm sticks and chanting and another group were busy painting on sheets of paper spread on the ground using sticks and fingers, The Aboriginal flag was suspended between the branches of one of the low trees.
When we arrived in Iluka, Colin and I walked into the Heritage Listed Rainforest which is right against the beach. Voluteers have spent many hours removing domestic plants from the rainforest that had threatened to smother everything. Asparagus fern is one of those plants – it spreads rapidly and has wicked thorns on it too.

As we drove in to the town of Iluka we drove through patches of rainforest, eucalypt forest and maleluca forest, it was amazing how the pattern of trees kept changing. I could not understand why the little patch of rainforest that was in the township should have been heritage listed and not the forest on the drive in to the town (that did not appear to be filled with feral plants). There must be a reason.
Iluka has a fishing fleet of trawlers and after taking a couple of pictures I amused myself by trying to catch a shot of the terns as they dived for fish in the adjacent yacht harbour. I only caught the splash!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

To the woods!

When we first arrived in Ballina township we called into the Information Office – most large towns have such a place, it is where travellers can get information about the town and district and even learn where to stay, where to eat and any special events that might be happening during the time of their stay. The helpful young lady who rushed to our assistance gave us quite a lot of help and insisted that we should visit Victoria Park. Apparantly, before the timbermen, who were chasing the red cedar, had destroyed most of the natural rainforest, a tiny parcel of 8 hectares had been secured from devastation as a reminder of what the country once was. Both Colin and I are nature lovers so this was definitely on our “to visit” list. Actually, it was not just the timbermen who destroyed the natural bush, the government did too – they sold much of the tree covered land where the cedar had been taken, for people to farm - on condition that they cleared it of bush.
We had Victoria Park to ourselves. A timber boardwalk has been created to take you through the small patch of rainforest without touching the ground.
The reserve is actually larger than the 8 hectares of rainforest, and regeneration in the area surrounding that remnant of forest will increase its size in time. Large rainforest trees often have what is known as “buttress roots” They are very shallow penetrating which means that in ultra strong winds the massive trees will topple over and cause a domino effect with their fall, forcing over other trees.
At last I managed to get a photograph of myself! I had to set the camera up and work out how to get into the shot and persuaded Colin to press the button. For some reason we had to have three tries before he actually managed to press the button firmly enough for the shot to be taken! No, I was not inside the rainforest where we were asked to stay on the boardwalk, this tree was on the very edge beside the carpark! The rest of the rainforest is behind it.
Another place that our helpful Information Ofice girl told us about was Summerland House. Actually my tour guide son had told us about it only a week earlier and recommended that we try to visit. Anyway, we did visit. This is a farm that is worked by handicapped people and is obviously a very productive and successful farm. Avocados, macadamia nuts and hydrophonic tomatoes are the main crops grown and a tractor tour of the farm was a real eye opener to the success of the place.
As well as the farm there are shops where gifts can be bought, farm grown groceries can be bought and a nursery where plants can be bought.
I would have loved to have bought a few of the plants that were here – they looked so strong and were not expensive either. Maybe we could call in again on the way home. Its four days before we pack up to leave this caravan park (which is deserted now the weekend is over!)
The evening light was beautiful when I looked out of the window of our cabin back at the caravan park so we hastily jumped into the car to get to where we could see the sun setting over the water. It was dazzling bright and not good for photography so I waited until the sun dropped out of sight. The clouds were beautiful so I contented myself with a shot of them. Driving back to the camp again the tiny clouds overhead and in the East were reds and yellows. It makes you feel good to see the beauty that nature can provide!
We intend to head South tomorrow. Fingers crossed that the weather stays as good as this!