Petroleum

Petroleum


windswept leafy autumn chill
fuel that warmed machine's internals
now drained
tanks vapour filled
hollow booming - signage an empty promise
abandoned a day and already unkempt
fenced, dug up and replaced
the land given a new life
and on future warm summer evenings
when myriad people sip and gaze
from fresh balconies
a faint waft of petroleum
hangs sweetly in the air

-May 2012

 

Our local service station has finally closed. It marks the end of an era for this little suburb. One of the last small servos to go. The bicycle shop - it was handy having one just down the road - closed up months ago. I was on my way back from a family shoot on Sunday and saw that the place had finally closed ... so I stopped and took some photographs. The signage came down yesterday morning.  I know all things must change and the world moves on but I was sad to see it go. Soon it will be as though nothing was there. Units will be up in a year. Nothing will remain except the faint waft of petroleum hanging sweetly in the air.

What about you? Do you document the things that change before they change?


long exposure of the rainforest gully lit by small spotlights

AfterDARK at the Gardens

On Saturday evening I went along with the family to a special members event at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). The rainforest gully walk has been kitted out with low wattage LED lighting funded by the 'Friends of the Botanic Gardens' and Saturday night was the first time they were showing it off. There were deleicious canapes and a glass of wine at the Visitors Centre before we were split into small groups of ten or twelve. Wind-up torches were handed out by our guides and, dressed warmly, we set off.

Being a regular visitor to the Gardens I was loving being in there at night. Familiar paths and trees took on new life as they illuminated only by our torch beams. Our guide Marion took us on a walk through the eucalypts before we entered the rainforest gully .

Wow!

The place was literally transformed. The mist jets which keep the gully moist and assist in maintaining an ambient temperature above freezing came on periodically and it was like walking through cloud ... really thick cloud. Lights have been set into both sides of the boardwalk so you know where the path goes and coloured lights have been placed in the garden beds as well.  I had brought my tripod and camera with me ... I decided on a single lens for the night: my Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D ... a little jewel of a lens. I wanted something quite fast and wide and my tripod enabled the longer exposures you see here.

The display looked fantastic and hats off to the 'Friends' program who both envisaged and funded the lighting program through subscription and donation.

There are plans to make this a regular event called the AfterDARK Firefly Tour begins officially in June. I suggest you get yourself along for a unique experience.

WhenSat 2 June  I  Sat 7 July  I  Sat 4 Aug
Time: 6pm and 7pm Tours
Cost: $19 adults; $14 concession (+booking fee) | Bookings essential 6250 9540 | Online bookings available from 8th May

This post has also been blogged over at The RiotACT


Poplar trees in autumnal yellow arching up to the sky

Canberra in Autumn

This is what happens when you put your fisheye on the ground looking up and carefully balance a circular polarising filter (that's too small for the lens) on top. Taken in the grounds of the Australian National University down near Sullivan's Creek. Astute viewers will score a bonus Telstrayama (the telecommunications tower atop Black Mountain in the center of Canberra) at the the three o'clock position.

Poplar trees in autumnal yellow arching up to the sky

Yes, the sky really is that blue in Canberra in Autumn and Spring ... they would both have to be my most favourite seasons.

Tell me, what's your favourite season?


The Invisible Mother

 

This was a practice where the mother, often disguised or hiding, often under a spread, holds her baby tightly for the photographer to insure a sharply focused image.

- The Hidden Mother

ealry portrait of a family standing around a mother obscured by a blanket

Now I understand that this practice originated when exposure times were slow meaning subjects had to sit perfectly still to render themselves sharply. I get that some families wanted only to have a portrait of their offspring with no parents. I still find the pictures a little macabre and creepy. I know that I'm looking with a modern eye and that what I'm seeing was 'standard practice' for the photographer and subjects but I can't help feeling that the pictures resonate with our society's underlying desire to make mothers invisible at the expense of their families. We don't pay mothers to do what they do ... we expect it. The need of the next generation are put, quite rightly, first but at the expense of and often with hidden cost to the mother. The Invisible Mother.

 Early portrait of child by mother obscured by a blanket

 

So here we have a series of pictures which had they been taken today could be hailed as a representation of the western social invisibilty of motherhood ... but that's not why they were made.

Interesting stuff to ponder ... what do you think?

Footnote: I found these fascinating photographs over at BlueMilk and liked them so much I'm referencing the original site Retronaut where you can find a stack of these images.


Guilty Pleasures: Battleship (2012) a short review

Promo poster image for the 2012 movie Battleship I admit to a guilty pleasure. I do enjoy a high-tech sci-fi shoot-em-up special effect showpiece. Transformers was fun (2&3 deplorable!) and as long you didn't think too hard was an enjoyable spectacle. Battleship (2012) was too. There are plot holes you could sail the USS Missouri through and the acting was handled adequately despite the poor script. In addition it had the overall feel of a defence force recruiting puff-piece ... this time for the Navy ... all those beautiful young things and crisp white uniforms. That said, a lot of them died. The special effects and battle-tech were quite spectacular ... if you've ever wondered what a destroyer being systematically torn to bits from the inside by a shiny high-torque rotary gear shredder might look like then this is the flick for you.

Throw in a geeky scientist who discovers his backbone, a double amputee vet from Aphganistan, a tepid love interest and lots of cooperation with the captain of a Japanese destroyer and you have a reasonable idea of what's going on. The USS Missouri (a WWII battleship moored as a museum piece - armed and fueled no less) was brought into the action by a small group of former crew members now serving as ship guides ... armed and fuelled? Really? The love interest annoyed me.

Great to look at and some humour in there too, the film is apprently based on the grid-based game 'Battleship' by Hasbro though I have to say loosely based ... very loosely based.

I did get to see the trailers for the Avengers (yawn) and Prometheus the new effort from Ridley Scott. I got the feeling from the cinema audience that that was the film everyone is waiting for ... it looks bloody amazing :-)

Battleship (2012) screening at Dendy Canberra.


Long daytime exposure of the sea against rocks

Shores of a methane sea

Long daytime exposure of the sea against rocks

Imagine standing on a planet much colder than this one is now and looking out over a sea of liquid methane ...

Shores of a Methane Sea ... the crunch of crystalline accretions under your boot

... the way the liquid moves and sighs - not like water

but thinner and with crackle...

 

About the picture: playing around with the B+W ND110E 10 stop neutral density filter.


Dewdrops on a spiders web

Connecting you now

Dewdrops on a spiders web  I was inspired by a post by fellow blogger Star Rush in Seattle called Currents. In the post, Star spoke of the currents of energy, life and power. The post was accompanied by one of her beautiful monochrome photos featuring a jumble of power-line and cable. While I liked the post very much, it got me to thinking about not only the energy the lines carry, about how they power our homes or carry telephony (remember then?) but how they connected us. I got to reflecting that when an operator said "Connecting you now..." they really were. You were physically connected to the person you were speaking to.

Think about that for a moment ... physically connected to someone else whether in the next street or on the other side of the planet.

While I embrace the freedom that the mobile age has brought, I feel that something somewhere has been lost ... a connection to one another if you will. How we're more connected than ever but somehow dis-connected at the same time.

Connecting you now.


boy standing in front of train passing a station at speed

Feel The Wind

Feel the wind of a passing train. Those destinations unridden, the breezy suggestion of another place.

Stand anchored, feeling the pull and blur of the cars ... the light unconscious pull and tug...

Passing TRain
'Feel The Wind' (Black & White)

wpid-DSC6628-Edit.jpg

Shot on the platform of Tempe Station in Sydney.

1/6 sec at f/22 in case you'd like to know :-)


'The Hotel' by Rudi de Jong

Picked this up in town from Rudi ...who wanders the town centres with photocopies of his work. I quite like them and happy to give him some exposure. I'll get a portrait of him one day and post that too...

'The Hotel' by Rudi de Jong

The oasis

the home away from home

old friends

the beer flowing freely

the publican

the weary pilgrim

music from the juke-box

the visitor

the cry

"Drinks on the house for everyone"

everyone filled with joy

troubles forgotten

problems solved

the beer glass raised high

the final word

Christ himself

a friend of publicans

and sinners

the Hotel

'The Hotel' by Rudi de Jong (20/3/2012)

Picked this up in town from Rudi ...who wanders the town centres with photocopies of his work. I quite like them and happy to give him some exposure. I'll get a portrait of him one day and post that too...


Stairs leading upward with sunbeams raining down from above

My image went viral on Pinterest (and I didn't know)

Stairs leading upward with sunbeams raining down from above I was going through my Google+ stream earlier tonight and came across a reshare of this image ... only it wasn't reshared from me but from someone else! Cranky! Theft! Piracy!

I contacted both my contact who had shared it to me and the original person who had it in their stream with no attribution. They got back really quickly and apologised meaning no harm and promptly removed it as I requested ... it still had my old 'Lushpup Images' watermark on the bottom left of the picture! I asked where they found it and they said #pinterest and sent me the URL (they really were quite helpful and I became less cranky). Sure enough there was my image with the watermark ... no attribution. What caught my eye was the list of 200+ reblogs listed on that page. When I did a Google Image search for the picture I was returned 15 pages of exact matches from all blogs and sites all over the world ... I stopped looking after that.

Interestingly, downloading a copy of the image from a number of sites to my machine (coming home in a way) the Author metadata still listed Lushpup Images as author and copyright holder ... not that anyone looked at it ;-)

Now, in the rare times I go searching for my own images using Image Search I come across one or two sites. I send them an email and in 99% of cases we resolve it through removal or attribution. In this case, where the image has clearly gone viral, what to do? I have heard that Pinterest throws copyright and intellectual property pretty much out the window by leaving it up to the individual account holder...

My image went viral on Pinterest (and I didn't know) ... What would you do?


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

:-(


thewalkdownunder 2012 Google+ Photowalk

I participated in the inaugural 2012 Google+ Photowalk held here in Canberra yesterday. It was an early start (7am at Regatta Point) but the day was an absolute cracker weather wise. A beautiful dawn with balloons saw about 30 people gather, score a t-shirt and set off on 4 hours of chatting, meeting and of course taking photos. Great to put some names to faces and to meet people I'd never seen nor heard of before. It was fun. I even found an iPhone on the way back and managed (via calling their recent calls list) to track them down and return it. How nice am I? ('very' is the correct answer to that) Did you take part in thewalkdownunder 2012?


water droplets consdensed onto a shiny blue surface

Condensed

water droplets consdensed onto a shiny blue surface

Condensed

The cool skin, attractive

pulling my eyes

pulling the very vapours from the air 

 

loving dappled and blue

condensed.


Melbourne across the Yarra - Tiny Planet


I learned how to do a 'Tiny Planet' image from an existing panorama last night. This was taken last year in lovely Melbourne. Shot from the south bank, it's a view of Melbourne across the Yarra River. A 5-shot panorama stitched together in Photoshop before being 'planeted'.

The tutorial I followed was this one published by www.photoguides.net and it was ridiculously simple to produce something gorgeous.

Go and give it a go and be sure to let us know how you got on :-)

In lovely Melbourne last year ... had a lovely time. More a family trip than a photo trip ... but I did get out and about a couple of times. This is a 5-frame pano stitched together in Photoshop the 'planetted'
In lovely Melbourne last year ... had a lovely time. More a family trip than a photo trip ... but I did get out and about a couple of times. This is a 5-frame pano stitched together in Photoshop then 'planeted'

Add EXIF data to your scanned images

OK ... so you've been out taking pictures with film. You've got the film developed and most likely had the negatives scanned so you can add the images to your digital library.

Perhaps you like to use keywords to index or sort your library. Maybe you like to see only those photos taken with a particular model camera ... like your film camera? Digital cameras record information about the image captured in the form of a series of EXIF tags (Camera, Lens, Aperture, Exposure etc). It's these tags that applications like Picasa, Lightroom and Aperture read when importing your images. Scanners apply EXIF data to the images resulting from scans. Film cameras do not (with some rare exceptions) record EXIF data so you'll need to create it. So here you are, seeking to add EXIF data to your scanned images.

Since Adobe’s Lightroom and most of the other tools that I use are geared towards DSLRs, I have felt the need to add as much EXIF data to my scanned images as possible. The more photos I add to Lightroom, the more important Smart Collections are getting to me and the less I want to rely on keywords. Things become even more complicated when I started using more than one film camera and wanted to use the standard ways to sort my photos by camera. Besides, I have this blog and display my photos online, my visitors want to inspect the EXIF data to get a feel for how I arrived at a particular exposure.

If you have googled how to update EXIF data in an image and you have landed here ... you have probably also come across the ExifTool by Phil Harvey. This tool can do everything and more, but in the end it is a Perl script with a command line interface. What was needed was a graphical user interface to the ExifTool and Bogdan Hrastnik has stepped up and developed the ExifToolGUI Windows tool for which you can find all information here. Strongly recommended!

After a little bit of time spent in the 'Newbie' stream of the ExifToolGUI forums I worked out how to alter the EXIF data of my scanned film images to reflect the Camera and Lens used to capture the image. Voila! Best of all I can modify the files as a batch. Since my images were already in Lightroom, I selected the images in the Library view, right-clicked them and selected 'Metadata > Read metadata from files' to refresh the image tags reported within the library.