Well, here’s a thing. When I was young, I loved summer but I wasn’t into hanging around the beach baking in the sun because that way madness (and melanoma) lies. Did you know that melanoma kills a lot of Aussies? The sun out-does venomous spiders, snakes and bugs in the killing department. Basically, it’s an extermination machine disguised as a necessity to life. Water’s the same. A little is good for you; too much and it can kill you.
But some of it is mighty purty!
I’ve been pretty busy lately and I totally forgot to tell you about the time I decided to climb this:
Sure it doesn't look THAT tall, but the sun was out and it was quite warm so you know...it seemed much taller than it actually was. But never fear - your faithful scribe didn't pass out mid-climb so now I'm here to tell the tale. Let's go back a bit, shall we?
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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?!?!”
Well, that's not strictly true:
Did someone say "chocolate"?
Oh well...best get in the car and drive over an hour to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery then. This building is situated long and low on the top of a hill with a view of orchards and vines and other hills and it's all just rather marvy. Their devonshire teas are really good (fantastic scones) and the chocolate is amazing. I'd show you pictures, but I didn't take any because I was too busy feeding my face.
I had the opportunity to go to Lake Fyans near the Grampians for a long weekend and it wasn't very busy which was pretty awesome. Each dawn jaunt was calm and quiet, except for the squawking of birds, the quacking of ducks, the buzzing of mosquitoes...
I last visited Organ Pipes almost 20 years ago and was pretty keen to see if my knees could manage the trip back up what I recalled was a very steep road. Nah, just kidding. As if my knees dictate what walks I will go on. Pure laziness decides that. I just wanted to see if an escalator had been installed next to that steep road.
The weather forecast predicted another 37°C day. Because another hot day might have actually sent me bonkers and because I’ve never seen them, I decided to head to the Aire Valley redwoods forest in the Otway Ranges. Because a forest has surely got to be cool temperature wise and cool as in groovy, right?
Yet again, the start of the year has yielded some disgustingly hot days forcing one to stay indoors as much as possible because that’s where air conditioning lives. Sometimes dawn is an okay time to be outside, before the big burny bastard in the sky has had time to fully crank up.
This is the place where I very nearly died. See that handrail towards the bottom of this picture, winding its way downwards? Well, it's there to aid people walking down all those steps. Now....imagine that many steps times about a million more steps and you're starting to get close to how many freakin' steps there actually are to get to the bottom of MacKenzie Falls.
My sister's dogs are neurotic. They bark at dust. Imagine how quiet I’d have to be to leave her house at 4am to shoot a sunrise without waking the entire household. I was resigned to an epic fail.
Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a little hill that was known as The Sugarloaf. Why? Did it look like sugar? A loaf? A loaf of sugar? What is a loaf of sugar anyway?
This is The Sugarloaf: