Website Blues

Oh I've been suffering the website blues ... for some months now (actually pretty much since I launched the new website!) the site has been been performing very poorly. By poorly I mean it took an inordinate amount of time to load and in some cases refused to display anything once it had loaded. I found this having a let's say 'detrimental' effect on my posting rate as I was constantly trying to improve the delivery of content rather than actually creating any! Thank you to all the people who took the time to let me know that they could not access the site and the blog! I mean what's the point of having a photography based website/business if no one can see your work!

I had tried optimising all my images, streamlining the code, caching plugins and even dabbled in some CDN (Content Delivery Network) action but nothing seemed to make it go faster. To cut a long story short I got in touch with the techs at my hosting provider (VentraIP) and asked if they could investigate this for me. They found some incorrect setting in my PHP version which, once corrected, made the delivery hum right along. A few more tweaks including updating the way my site caches content and delivers it has really increased my delivery speeds to a fraction of what they were before. Now that the site appears fully functional I have been inspired to update some of the image galleries and overall appearance parameters to make the site a more streamlined experience. Do please give it a go if you find yourself so inspired and let me know if it's not behaving itself! I will have strong words with it ;-P

Website blues? Not as blue as this Koi I captured at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney turned out ... but still it's a pretty picture ... so pretty I had it printed up large and it now hangs on my wall. I'm thinking of doing a series of them and getting RedBubble to make some cushions and tote baggy things for sale.


Powerful Owl

Possibly the most photographed bird in Canberra at the moment. This Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) has taken up residence in nearby Turner. Luckily for us it was visible high up in the treetops when we passed by to catch a glimpse of it. These owls typically stand about 60cm tall with a wingspan of over 1.3m though it was hard to tell the exact measurements of this one. Their diet consists of a variety of possums (brushtail, ringtail and sugar gliders) large birds (cockatoos, corellas and rosells et al) This one had caught (and was in the process of shredding) a ringtail possum and you can see its black & white tail curling over the limb of the tree.


Just because: Butterflies

I was up in Far North Queensland (that's FNQ by the way!) last week with the kids visiting relatives in Cairns and Townsville and I had the opportunity to travel up to Kuranda in the Barron Gorge National Park. It was hot. Barron Gorge NP is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It was hot.  Whilst there we visited the Butterfly Sanctuary and so here are some pictures of butterflies ... had I been a truly dedicated type I'd have annotated these with their proper species names ... but you can see that I haven't ... perhaps you didn't even notice until I'd pointed it out? Oh well, it was hot*  :-)

So, just because ... butterflies :-)

More pictures of the trip to come ... but first you know ... butterflies :-)


*Hot being a comfort index in Cairns of 42.8°C with 75% humidity.

Did I mention it was hot?

Zoologica I - selection and hanging

OK so I have been putting together (what I realised is my first) solo show ... titled Zoologica: a photographic study of life through death. Exploring zoological specimens, the works encourage you to ponder the nature of scientific collection, death and preservation. The series comprises 12 monochromatic prints, printed on Canson Baryta Photographique by Stephen Best of Macquarie Editions in Braidwood. The final series of 12 is shown in the gallery below. I've gone with hanging the prints unframed using linen hinges and small tacks. I'm really impressed with the printing quality and the light curl of the paper really adds to the apparent depth of the images. It's a great feeling when you see your own work on a wall ... and a real buzz when there's a series of your own work up like this.

I hung the show yesterday with gallery owner Michael and it looks fantastic ... it'll look even better when fully lit.

The opening is Wednesday evening at 6pm and I'm rather looking forward to it :-)

Dead skink on tissue paper in a small box

“It’s dead” said Petra


Dead skink on tissue paper in a small box

She held out her hand
Upon her palm a tiny lizard, a skink
A shining dark olive back – thin yellow strip along the sides
Iridescent blue-aqua beneath its chin
“It’s dead” said Petra as she held it aloft by the tail – and it was
I looked into its eye and saw right through to the verdant bush beyond
The tangled twigs and rocks – a land of nooks and tasty creatures
“Most likely where this lizard is now” I thought as I peered through the eyeless window
I remembered to breathe – brought myself back
The sounds of this world filling my ears as I returned
from reverie and soft melancholia
Into the light - the present

She made a small home for the lizard
A little box lined with tissue and care
The tiny claws catching still – a feeble anchor
it looked like it would dart away in a flash
but it already had
Discarding this garment long ago
a once animate husk
Beating and alive 
(GD @ Ness May 2012)

Sniff the white (champagne tinted) rat

Vale 'Sniff' - Died 4th April 2012

Sniff the white (champagne tinted) rat Born in 2011, Sniff was always a beautiful creature. Pink-eyed and white (well, champagne tinted), he was a gentle rat. He had a kinder and gentler temprament than his mate and surviving companion Waggle. Sniff was recovering from a bout of repsiratory illness and was responding well to antibiotic treatment ... he was found dead this morning in his enclosure with no obvious cause.

Now, I've never kept rats before. We have a cattle dog, chooks (well, maybe one fewer chook soonly) and up until this morning two rats. We got the rats (two boys) after about six months of consistent interest and prodding by the children. They got desexed and live in a large penthousey enclosure, eat healthy food and are handled regularly and lovingly ... sometimes a bit too lovingly by the youngest yet they do not bite or have ever gotten aggressive.

They are bright and intelligent little animals, curious and with distinct personailties. They seemed to like exploring and checking things out. Their whiskers are something behold! I find it quite amazing to realise that people by and large do not believe that creatures (other than ourselves) can think and feel ... that they are driven only by instinct and some kind of genetic program. A distinct lack of empathy on their part I say.

Sniffy you will be missed by all of us.

Vale 'Sniff' - Died 4th April 2012


Flying foxes with lightning - Elizabeth Bay Sydney

Here's a lucky catch! A crop from a 30second exposure during a twilight thunderstorm at Elizabeth Bay in Sydney.

I didn't see until post-processing that I'd caught two flying foxes. Cool huh?

So ... Flying foxes with lightning - Elizabeth Bay Sydney :-)

Here's a lucky catch! A crop from a 30second exposure during a twilight thunderstorm at Elizabeth Bay in Sydney. I didn't see until post- processing that I'd caught two flying foxes. Cool huh?
Here's a lucky catch! A crop from a 30second exposure during a twilight thunderstorm at Elizabeth Bay in Sydney. I didn't see until post- processing that I'd caught two flying foxes. Cool huh?

In the Garden: jumping spider

Found this little one on the curled leaf of a lime tree in the backyard. A cutie huh? Very inquisitive critters ... I'm not overly fond of spiders (the larger ... the less so) but I like these ones.


D80 - Tamron 90mm SP Macro

In the Garden: jumping spider