Forgive me dear reader for I have sinned. It’s been over a month since my last confession. I’ve been a bit busy this past month and after fulfilling the time quotas I have for being annoying to my better half, taking naps, inhaling popcorn and generally being lazy, there’s often no time for writing.
But here I am, back to tell you about the time I went to Metcalfe and discovered The Cascades. I say “discovered”, but I don’t mean in the sense that a great explorer might have discovered an uninhabited island. Oh no....it was very clear someone had been here before me. Picnic tables!
If you've been living under a rock, you might not know that Cranbourne East, a residential suburb about 50kms south east of Melbourne, is the fastest growing suburb in terms of people, in Australia. The flood of residents has given rise to an influx of bogans (normal in any housing estate), an upswing of crime (new houses are often full of shiny things) and endless cries for public transport infrastructure to cope with the area's growth (trains, anyone??).
But it also has something very different. A mere stone's throw across the South Gippy Highway is the very excellent 'Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Cranbourne' where one can easily spend the best part of a day exploring the different gardens, structures and waterways and generally forgetting the rest of the world exists.
I thought it was about time I stopped lurking about on Twitter and actually used my brain for a bit, so here it is. A blog post containing some pictures featuring impossibly blue skies that may or may not cheer you up if your Seasonal Pissed Off Disorder (SPOD) is in full swing, and some fantastic artworks that have brought a different aspect of life to rural Victoria. I had to do actual research about these works, so you better start appreciating. I don't do this for the good of my health you know!
Right...so....six grain silo sites in the Mallee/Wimmera region of Victoria now have massive portraits painted on them, and it’s a thing and the thing is called the Silo Art Trail and if you can, you should go look at them because they’re really super.
Wanna learn something about history and be the envy of your friends at your next pool party? Get a cuppa then.
Lake Mungo is a lake bed that dried up about 15,000 years ago. Aboriginal people inhabited this area at least 50,000 years ago and it’s where Mungo Lady and Mungo Man were discovered (in 1968 and 1974 respectively). It's one of the oldest places outside of Africa to have been occupied by human beings, and Aboriginal people believe that before the Dreaming, there was a ‘land before time’ that was flat and lifeless. A bit like this:
It’s in New South Wales, about an hour and a bit’s drive north of Mildura if you don’t use Google Maps. Imagine my surprise when Google wanted to take me on a 4 hour drive to get there from Mildura. I mean, I know there’s dirt roads and you have to be somewhat careful, but suggesting I go 50km out of my way or that I drive at 20kph? WTF Google??
Let’s cast our collective minds back a few months when the weather was decidedly warmer and butterflies still flapped about like idiots. When the sun wasn’t just for show and actually had some warmth in it. You remember....back when it was a burny bastard and its purpose was to cook us the minute we nipped out for milk? Well, before the temperature plummeted to somewhere between Artic and Baltic, Flashie and I went off to Lake Tyrrell in Northern Victoria for a bit of a look, and we ended up at Lake Mungo.
Yes alright, I’ll tell you how that happened...
Right, well it's officially Winter. Ugh, I can feel my insides getting colder already.
Garden wandering again....this time in Mount Macedon. You'd think by the number of posts on this blog that contain trees, leaves, flowers and other bits of organic-based tat, that I actually enjoy gardening. I don't particularly, and I know stuff-all about it, but I hated the back dirt we used to have so I thought I'd have a crack at growing stuff. I do like the fruits of my labours when I can walk out the back and pick some basil and capsicum, et viola! I'm halfway to dinner! This guy was so perfectly formed, it was almost a crime to eat him so I photographed him for prosperity. Or to show off.
Hidden away on a gravel road a bit past Warburton in the Yarra Ranges is a plantation of California Redwoods that seems so isolated that it supports my theory that nature can either soothe your soul or give you the heebie jeebies. Of course, these things can depend on your state of mind and whether you’re alone or not.
And now for something completely different: some old looking photos that aren't really old at all but are the product of a misguided afternoon spent messing about with software in pursuit of creativity.
I'm playing with a few things lately: my camera remote which had been acting up and which Him On The Couch fixed because he is really quite clever; some camera filters that I purchased a filter bag for, making them easy to access but not scratch); the Nik Collection software and its fancy pants Analog Efex Pro editing presets; and this website and its new ability to resize singular pictures like that one up there, and this one down here:
The Antipodean autumn is in full swing here in Brunswickwestfordshire. The nights are getting cooler, the days are darker, and actual rain has presented itself a couple of times to tease my plants into thinking they might not die of dehydration. I’m quite sure some of them will cark it over winter, but it’ll more likely be of neglect than lack of water. The grapevine that never has any grapes is shedding its leaves and the wind kindly deposits them in a heap at the front door for me to sweep up every few days. I can do with nature, but it really should learn to clean up after itself!
One great thing about winter’s approach is that the devil birds (aka moths) that proliferate the warmer months tend to bugger off, which pleases me greatly because they are evil, kamikaze creatures that serve no purpose but to scare the crapola out of me with their stupid dive bombing antics. They do have a tendency to hang around gardens though. Maybe I should embrace the metal approach:
But I digress….
I was going to call this post “How to cram loads in, in one day” and then tell you to:
And also, this happened (a month ago!):
11TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS HONORS
PHOTOGRAPHER CATHERINE BAILEY FROM AUSTRALIA
LOS ANGELES 11 March 2018 - Professional photographer Catherine Bailey of Australia was presented with two Nominee titles in the 11th Annual International Color Awards in the category of Architecture, and one Nominee each in the categories of Nature and Still Life, at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow streamed Saturday, March 10, 2018.
The live online gala was attended by over 12,500 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for color photography. 11th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Christie's, Paris; Grey Group, New York; The Art Channel, London; Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam; Publicis Conseil, Paris; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Netflix, Los Angeles; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Phillips, New York who honored Color Masters with 709 title awards and 730 nominees in 33 categories.
"Photography is more popular than ever. Last year around 1.2 trillion pictures were taken. In this awards show we pay tribute to the top 0.0000000001% of them" said Juror Martijn van Marle, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam. Joshua White, Presenter and Producer on The Art Channel, London added "Judging this year's submissions for the Color Awards was challenging. The winning images illustrate the continuing importance of photography as a way of seeing the world around us and understanding human experience."
"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 5,642 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Catherine’s exceptional images represent contemporary color photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present her with the title of Nominee."
INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography.
Awww, isn’t that nice? That’s the blurb that the Color Awards peeps send to Nominees and Winners for promotional purposes. I’ve never used it before but I’m feeling particularly lazy with all this other writing I’ve been doing, so there it is. I entered 5 images and got 4 nominations so I'm pretty happy with that.
And now I must be gone, for there are doors to be widened as my fat head has grown even fatter.
What's next I hear you ask? Well....it's Victoria Fossil Cave at Naracoorte in SA! Yaaaayyyy!!! [And the crowd are going wild!] Yes, it appears that many moons ago, in the time before The Internet, people actually socialised with each other, and went outdoors and explored stuff. And some guys explored so much that they eventually found a cave with loads of fossils in it, and they got all excited and shouted “Victoria!” instead of “Eureka!” and that’s how the Victoria Fossil Cave was named. Possibly.
I know it’s a bit unfashionable to say it, but I love Radelaide. It’s easily navigable, there’s really good beaches and parks, year round festivals, great buildings, it’s close to wine country, the roads are wide enough to land a plane on, and Rundle Mall’s got balls. What's not to love about all that?
We enjoyed the gig (remember, there was a reason we were here), AND sleeping in an actual house AND not being woken pre-dawn by squawking birds. The morning after the gig suggested a little lie-in and a lazy breakfast, followed by a drive out to Victor Harbor and its environs for a day of sun, exercise and culture.
If you've ever been on the Princes Highway going through the Coorong in South Australia, you'll know that it's not the most exciting of places. Yeah sure, it's an internationally important wetland and it's chokka block full of cultural history and birds, but to just drive though it? That's as boring as bat shit, my friends. You have to be able to stop and have a wander around because staring at road and salt bush for 100kms is enough to kill off what's left of anybody's brain cells. And so it was that we found ourselves at a place called Salt Creek, faffing about on Pipe Clay Lake.
Finally! South Australia!
We’ve stopped at Mount Gambier (which should be pronounced ‘Mont Gom-bee-air’ ...from the French for ‘half an hour behind’**), for a squizz at the Blue Lake and the very impressive Umpherston Sinkhole.
**This is probably made up.
No girlie road trip is complete without being a Terry Tourist, so after a quick lunch at Warrnambool, where this groovy painting was on this otherwise non-descript building, we meandered on to the Princess Margaret Rose Cave in Mumbannar near the Victoria/South Australia border.
Oh my gawd, you are going to be so over pictures of the sea by the time this blog is finished! And guess what? There’ll probably be more!
Backtracking a little, yesterday we also visited Loch Ard Gorge, so named for the ship that beached itself on an island close by in the 1870s, tipping out two survivors who found themselves washed up on the beach in the gorge.
What would you do if there was a band you wanted to see, but the gig was interstate? You’d turn it into a week-long girlie road trip, wouldn’t you? Course you would, you’re only human. Unless you’re a bloke, in which case it would be a bloke-y road trip probably involving less loo stops (because, you know...trees). Anyway, so it was that me and Flashie decided we’d have a crack at camping our way to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road.
The other week I took myself out of the People’s Republic of Moreland and ventured to The Coast. Being the pale skinned, sun allergic tragic that I am, this isn’t something that happens often. Or at all. But I was bored of watching hipsters drink coffee and eat watermelon, and some members of my family had stupidly put themselves within driving distance, so I set off to annoy them for a couple of days.
Kennett River is about two and a half hours drive from my place. Unless someone decides they want to pull up a sizeable chunk of the Great Ocean Road in the guise of ‘roadworks’, in which case it takes about a week. Fortunately, I had brought pumpkin seeds and crisps, so I wouldn’t starve. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who likes crisps.
There’s something very magical about the dawn before a scorching hot day. It’s the time of the day when you can move without dehydrating in 2.3 nano seconds, the colours in the sky are pretty special, and there’s no-one about. Well, apart from the axe wielding homicidal maniacs that usually just live in my mind but might actually be lurking on the dark streets, probably near bins. No wait...that’s polar bears.
I was a bit stir crazy from spending most of my time indoors and my general apathy towards anything other than sitting on the couch eating popcorn was threatening to take over. So I defied orders: ditched the moon boot, scarpered out at 4am and ran away to the sea!
Dear reader, I meant to post this pre the chrimbo holiday period, but things just got in the way and before I knew it, I had a dodgy foot, a dicky back and dead internet connection. Murder could’ve ensued but I’ve managed to not turn into an axe wielding homicidal maniac with the aid of sufficient drugs and some good books. Oh, and a husband who doth wait on me hand and foot because…well… you know…I’m worth it.
So, before we go any further and in the spirit of the season, have this (you'll need Flash because the mp4 won't work):
Because he's a genius, he's 50 today and because they'll make you feel good, enjoy these Steven Wilson offerings!
Yes, I'm a fangirl. Get over it!
This year I entered 3 images, and I'm quite chuffed that 2 of them won nominations. 8,121 entries were received from 74 countries and these were whittled down to include 1,034 nominations. So what's that, percentage wise? I think it's around the top 10-12% mark so it's quite the ego boost. I'll have to get all the doors in the house widened for my fat head to fit through.
Point Nepean is a coastal park containing buildings remaining from Fort Nepean’s use as a defence fort during World Wars 1 and 2, before people realised that Australia was so far away from anywhere, jet lag would stop invaders from bothering to attack.
My companion on this walk was generally fit and healthy, but had the tail end of the dreaded lurgy that had swept like the plague through Melbourne. That she could breathe and talk at the same time was a welcomed return to form. I’m distance challenged (ie: I have no idea how far 2kms really is) and I was getting over a dodgy foot ligament, so we thought it best to tackle a couple of little walks before deciding if the long walk to Fort Nepean was on the cards or not.
Now when I say ‘long’, I mean “this will take longer than half an hour but probably less than 4 hours”. Anything under half an hour is a short walk. Anything over 4 is not worth naming because I’m never going to do one.
Remember last month when I went to Goulburn Weir and took half a day to get there? Well, this week I had another crack at it by researching the directions thoroughly, making a special note to turn onto the M39 instead of staying on the M31, and ensuring I didn’t go via Yea. Look, I know what you’re thinking: “but if you’d stayed on the M31, you would’ve headed towards Sydney and Yea is south of Seymour even, so how in god’s name did you end up in Yea if you were headed north?!?!”