Organ donor? I have decided. Have you? Does your family know?

Donate life LogoI was reminded by Ally over at her blog everyday miracles that it's Donate Life week - an initiative by the Australian Government to promote awareness of and (hopefully) increase the number of people willing to donate their organs. Organ donation in Australia is low. In fact, Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.

I have always rationally believed in organ donation ... although I admit to finding the subject a little disturbing at first. I found that if I turned it around... if I thought about how I would feel if someone had donated to me and given me what amounts to a most precious gift ... then signing up for my card would be a lot less disturbing. So that's what I did. I figured if I'm not around to require it any more then someone else would be free to use it. I signed up, I had my discussion with my family who thankfully agree with donation and are (for the most part) organ donors too.

Some facts about organ donation in Australia (from the donate life website)

  • One organ, eye and tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of 10 or more people.
  • Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, yet has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.
  • Around 1600 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists.
  • On average, people on the transplant list can wait between 6 months and 4 years. 4 years!

With a majority of Australians generally willing to become organ donors it is vitally important that people willing to donate their organs have a memorable discussion with their family about their wishes. In Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before donation for transplantation can proceed. Less than 60% of Australian families give consent so it's again vital that your discussions are had and that they are memorable.

I carry my card, my family knows.

Organ donor? I have decided. Have you?

Princesses Aplenty - Riverfront Theatre Company



Towards the end of last year I received a lovely email from Paul Coleman at the Riverfront Theatre Company in Windsor Ontario, Canada. He was putting together a youth theatre production called "Princesses Aplenty - A Fractured Fairytale". Paul had seen a photograph of mine and thought it would be great to help promote the production and asked if he could have my permission to use it. Here's a part of Paul's letter...

"I work with a group of kids at a non-profit organisation called the Riverfront Theatre Company in Windsor Ontario Canada. We provide theatrical art programming to over 80 young people at absolutely no fee for the  participant. We are entering our 8th season we are spreading our creative wings to present an original production entitled Princesses Aplenty. There is a dragon in our play and we would love to use part of your image in our poster. Attached is a rough draft of what I would like to use. (with your permission of course) If you are willing to allow us to use it could you send me a higher resolution copy. We would gladly credit you on the poster and on our website."

I was chuffed and not least because it's nice to be asked. I said yes and provided a high resolution copy of the dragon image below to Paul. Anyways, time passed and every now and then I'd receive an excited email from Paul letting me know how things were going and how everyone loved the image and it looked great and then yesterday I picked up a parcel from the post office. Inside (see top picture) was a t-shirt, two tickets, a program and two posters ... cool! I was especially impressed with the t-shirt. Thanks mate, it made my day.

Dragon Tail
Dragon Tail

Now it transpires that Paul, as well as running graphic design house Creation Design is a photographer too and has some nice photos up on his website. Go have a look and tell him I said 'Hi'.

Sweet White Noise

When I first published this self portrait of me sleeping like a bat, I was listening to the album The Sound of White by Australian artist Missy Higgins.

Listening to the title track got me thinking about the sound of white noise and how relaxing I found it. About how white noise is the sound made by all the frequencies randomly occurring together at an equal or flat power. About how the sound is there but there is no discernible frequency or signal that stands out (because there isn't one!). It's like experiencing thick fog, an aural isolation chamber. Listening to white noise I find my mind exploring it, looking for a handle, something familiar. Rationally I know it's not there but my mind searches anyway, fumbling and groping. Then comes a strange feeling of floating with in the white noise as it surrounds me with no detectable source ... the sound comes from everywhere - omnidirectional.

White noise gets its name from the term white light which describes a light where all the frequencies are of equal power. I like exploring that too.

Wikipedia has a more thorough and technical description of white noise and it's myriad uses.

Summer Break - back on track

Not that I can believe it's February (or 2012) for that matter. I've been busy and had a lovely time over the Summer holidays being busily doing not much.

Over the summer break I had a 3-week period in January where I didn't even switch on the photo workstation! My processing has piled up and inspiration is coming back online. In a way it has been nice to not do any photography ... to just let it go for a little while, to regroup and reassess my focus so to speak.

Here comes 2012!

Tidbinbilla Trip

Took a trip out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra on the weekend with some friends ... always love going out there. This was a quick trip to get out of Canberra for a while and one of our favourite destinations is The Sanctuary - a large wetlands ecosystem surrounded by bushland and protected by a predator-proof fence providing sanctuary for a range of native animals in a natural setting.


A pair of Red Belly Black snakes basking on a log in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra. Aren't they beautiful!
A pair of Red Belly Black snakes basking on a log in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra. Aren't they beautiful!

A pair of Red Belly Black Snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus) basking.

On one of our first visits to the Sanctuary, a volunteer guide showed where a colony of Red Bellied Black Snakes - Pseudechis porphyriacus or 'red bellies' for short. On that day there were perhaps 6 snakes in two groups nestled amongst the tussock grass by the side of the pond. On Saturday there were maybe 9 snakes in 3 groups including this pair basking in the sun. I think they must have shed recently because their skins and colouration were beautiful. I took this with my 18-200mm and was about 5m away from them. Black snakes are generally placid if left undisturbed ... I likely wouldn't try a shot like this with a brown or tiger snake. Just quietly walk away ... quietly walk away :-)

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'wall works' (a preview) - ANCA Gallery

'wall works'  7th - 22nd December 2011

Last week I was given a heads-up by friend and artist Nicci Haynes about an exhibition on at the Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA) Gallery in Dickson. Apparently ANCA are repainting the gallery over the new year period and have invited a select group of artists to use the walls of the gallery as their canvas. The show is called 'wall works' and I went along on Friday afternoon to take some photographs and was impressed by the scale and quality of work going on in there and I present a selection of images below. I highly recommend anyone interested to do the same.

The show opens officially on Wednesday 14th December but is open to the public now for anyone interested in the creative process. Of particular interest to me were the wall size works by Byrd and Hanna Hoyne, the intricate musings of Paul Summerfield, the 'there but not there' figures of Nicci and the vibrant etchings of Tesss Horwitz.

From the ANCA website "Six local artists transform the gallery by working directly on the walls. Byrd with Hanna Hoyne, Mariana del Castillo with Gus McGrath and Alex Asch, Nicci Haynes, Tess Horwitz and Paul Summerfield. Curated by Narelle Phillips"

A second post with more images from this session can be found HERE


'girl on the floor' by Nicci Haynes


Hanna Hoyne


Byrd applying some fine detail


Entry Designs by Paul Summerfield

'fire extinguisher surrounds' by Paul Summerfield


'white crouching figure' by Nicci Haynes


Artist Byrd


Hanna Hoyne


Tess Horwitz

Fred Smith’s Dust of Uruzgan CD Launch - in review

I think the gig marked a real step-up in the stage-craft and production of a Fred Smith performance. As always, his songs were passionate and rendered well and his band (Liz Frencham (double bass), Lachlan Coventry (pedal steel and electric guitar) and John Jones (drums)) supplied excellent and solid support. The addition of projected images of Afghanistan worked well too. The audience was made up of an eclectic mix with many folk attending their first show after hearing a couple of tracks on the radio. ABC Canberra’s Virginia Haussegger introduced both sets with great gush. I never realised she was such a fan. I had the privilege of attending the soundcheck to get some stills of Fred and his band prior to the show and am attaching a couple of them for you to have a look at. There is a larger set to be found at Fred’s page on Lushpup Images.

Well, hello

I'm thinking this will be a visual diary of sorts ... a way of keeping abreast of what I'm doing and what I've done. If you decide to come along for the ride even for a little while ... that's fine by me.