Every Bloomin’ Thing

Posted in On Tthe Road on April 12th, 2011 by MadDog
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Well, the fun just keeps on coming. I have, in the last couple of weeks, spent nearly US$1,200 on medical tests. These people must think I’m made of money. I have news for them. I’m all turnip inside. All I have to show for it is that I “might have something wrong” with me. Those are my words, not the doctor’s. The doctor could not be more specific. I don’t envy doctors their jobs, but it nevertheless annoys me that one cannot get the information one needs. It’s unreasonable to expect more, I suppose. If one takes one’s car to a mechanic saying, “It makes a funny noise.” the likely answer will be, “That’s because there’s something wrong with it.”

If one complains that the answer lacks detail, the likely answer will be, “Well, if you want more, it’s gonna cost you. The free consultation is over.” Hey, we all have to make a living, eh?

I’m quite certain that nobody but a die-hard masochist would relish receiving medical bad news. Right now, anything time-consuming or expensive is bad news to me, because I have a schedule to keep and I’m practicing intense frugality. Once I’m in North America, I’ll have a bit more wiggle room, at least as far as scheduling is concerned. As for the frugality, I’m rather enjoying pinching pennies. I’ve discovered the joy of learning how little I can spend while doing something other than lying in bed all day complaining.

Do we ever have any truly attractive options when such things come up? I think not. I have no option to do anything at all until I get to the USA. I have no time left. I might choose to get the needed test done while in the USA, but I’d have to start from scratch with the same preliminary tests over again. Then there is the horrendous medical system (or lack thereof, as the case may be) to deal with. Doing anything about it while I’m in Canada is out of the question. I have no rights there. I will most likely do nothing until I end my North America segment. I can continue the tests in Australia, since Val has agreed, most generously, to take care of me if the need arises. I can’t say how important that is to me. Or, I may choose to do nothing at all. It’s the “wait and see” approach.

I’m not ready to divulge any details of the medical mystery for a few reasons. I don’t have enough information to make an interesting story. I’ve been told that the likelihood that it is serious is not overwhelming (my words again – possibly wishful thinking). I don’t have time now to do the necessary test (undoubtedly also very expensive) to discover if there is, in fact, anything detectable wrong with me. So, why do I even mention it?

I don’t really know. I’ve been dealt another hand of cards. Hmmm . . . what game is it that we are playing? Can’t recall. Well, I’ll just paint a smile on my face and bluff while I’m trying to remember. It’s the old “box of chocolates” thing again.

In two more days I’ll be winging my way across the western Pacific Ocean to Honolulu. I need to make a stop there to see long-time supporters of my work. It will be a friendly reception, I’m sure, but nevertheless stressful. I have always felt at home in Honolulu, but living there is horribly expensive. I gave up dreams of retirement there long ago. That seems to be only for the rich. It’s a nice place to visit. Bring your credit cards. Blessedly, I have a place to crash with an old friend. My supporters are lending me a car, which makes me tremble with anxiety. I’m being turned loose in Honolulu traffic with someone else’s car! We’ll have to wait to see how much I’ll actually drive it.

I’ve been fretting over travel details today after visiting the doctor again. I got stuck by the nurse for my Pneumovax shot for a bargain price. So far that has been the bright point of the day. As you may detect, my mood is not joyous, so I’ll move on to today’s so-called amusement, a collection of unidentified Australian wildflowers.

Most of these shots were taken at Teewah. The bush area there is full of mysterious blossoming vegetation. For instance, this bizarre thing:

Many seem to require a caption:

I’d call this one Raggedy Anne.

This looks strangely like a Sweet Pea, but I’m sure it’s not:

Possibly Pop-Eye could tell us. Did you get that one, kiddies? A poor attempt at humour.

I was told the name of this flowering tree, but immediately forgot it:

Though my sense of smell is permanently crippled, I could detect a very sweet fragrance from these flowers. Supposedly the parrots get drunk on the stuff. Sadly, I did not see that.

I’m trying to think if I know of any other flowers which have exactly three petals:

No, nothing is coming through. Anybody??

This is probably the prettiest shot of the bunch:

It appeared to me strange that nearly all of these plants grew in seeming isolation. I expected them to occur in patches of the same species.  I’ve been wondering about this. Again, nothing comes to mind. Maybe I’m hallucinating again. I wonder what causes that also.

These were common enough all over the beach at Teewah, just above the high tide line:

As with many things, the most common was the most uninteresting.

This one captured the ugly prize, I think:

I didn’t touch it, as it looks poisonous.

My pre-travel jitters are rattling my cage with great zeal. This afternoon, I rattled Val’s cage with my fretting over a line on my electronic ticket for Sydney which stated in no uncertain terms:



0 pc / 20kg

Okay, which is it? Is it nothing or is it 20 kilos? It seemed, at first, that nobody knew. At least the information was unavailable or inconclusive over the demon-possessed, much-cursed automated question answering line. Be honest now; do you hate those things? Val finally got a human (or computer which had attended acting school) on the phone who seemed to indicate that I would be allowed one bag in the hold of 20 kilos. Why don’t they just say that?

Anyway, I have tomorrow to pack my pathetic rags in my checked baggage and pray that they won’t weigh my carry-on back-pack or (horrors!) actually measure it. I try to conceal it as much as possible until I’m actually on the plane in the hope that nobody will notice. So far, this ploy has worked for me. It is impossible to get it into the overhead storage. I travel with my US$8.00 suit jacket and my black fedora. These items cleverly hide the fact that my back-pack can not reasonably be considered as being underneath the seat in front of me. I also pretend to be asleep. My feet are jammed in on either side of the back-pack so that elevated knees will not give the game away. I don’t imagine that this actually fools anybody, especially the cabin crew. Perhaps my pitiful appearance and ridiculous attempt at subterfuge gains me mercy.

Was travel this tricky in the days of the stage-coach? I doubt it. Then the world was much bigger. Maybe that bigger world was simpler. I like simple. Why can’t I have simple? It seems out of reach.

At least my sense of humour is still more or less intact.

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I Shoot Myself

Posted in On Tthe Road on April 7th, 2011 by MadDog
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I’ve had an interesting few days. I went a couple of weeks ago to get a physical check-up. A few months ago I was wishing to find something which would kill me as quickly and painlessly as possible. Now I am more hopeful. It would be nice to find that nothing serious was amiss. Well, it seems there are a couple of numbers out of whack, but I’ll not go into that until I have more information. It’s probably nothing serious, but I can’t get it checked out now. I’m just too busy. If the second round of tests come back with a frown, I may have to take some more time at the end of my holiday to stop in Australia to get myself checked out thoroughly and go in for repairs if necessary. The cards keep coming, whether one is ready for them or not. Best to keep playing with as cool a head as one can manage.

I did get my wrinkled old skin examined expertly. I was amazed that it cost me only $35. Decades of careless sun exposure have forced me to have tiny bits and pieces frozen off here and there.  Some pesky spots on my head turned out to be nothing. Good news. One little place on my hand had to suffer the liquid nitrogen treatment. It’s a fascinating thing to watch, but don’t be in a hurry for it. Be careful with the sun, kiddies. It wants to kill you.

I’m a fanatic about getting my flu shots every year. We have some terrible flus floating around here. I know that these yearly vaccine concoctions probably will not protect me from those, but it makes me feel better when I get jabbed. I’m very fond of placebos. I wish I could get them by the dozen. So I asked my doctor to script me for the flu vaccine for 2011 and also the Pneumovax pneumonia vaccine, which I have not received for a few years. You’re supposed to get it twice in your life, five years apart. I’ve gotten sort of used to being alive now, after a spell of intense ambivalence, so I would rather not get struck down by something as mundane as the flu or pneumonia. If I’m going to go, I want to do it with a bit of panache.

In line with my extreme frugality, I decided to save another $50 trip to the doctor’s office by injecting myself. It’s really no big deal. When I was in “the military” we were always having to practice injecting. I don’t know why they wanted us to be so proficient. Maybe it was training for a future life on the streets. Anyway, it’s kind of interesting to give yourself a shot. In fact, it stings a lot less when you do it yourself. The flu shot turned out to be no problem at all, as it came neatly packed in a throw away syringe:

As you can see, this image is part of my continuing plan to amuse and enlighten. I may or may not succeed.

Alas, I discovered my plan to cheat the medical industry out of fifty bucks was foiled, as my Pneumovax came in a vial. I was tempted to use the syringe for the flu shot over again, but I was afraid Val would catch me. I can’t imagine that she would have approved:

Nice try. Now I have had to make yet another appointment and fork over another five ten-spots just to get some person in a white suit stick a needle in me. You just can’t win at this game.

By the way, the cane toads came back to the frog pond the next day with reinforcements. Val squirted disinfectant on them to try to kill the pesky beasts. They’re nice and clean now and no worse for the experience. I was funny to watch them blowing soap bubbles:

I was tempted to go and get one of Val’s golf clubs and practice my wedgie or whatever it is golfers do. I despise golf. No, wait. That’s too strong. I find golf puzzling. Okay, now I’ve offended all of the two or three golfers out there who may read this. I’m sorry. Sometimes I just blurt things out. It’s not my fault. I’m impulsive that way. Blame my mother or my father or some other ancestor. I got some truly bad genes. I’m amazed that I’ve stayed out of jail so long. Hey, it’s never too late!

Rummaging around for something else to throw at you today, I ran across this shot of the beautiful red mushrooms which we found near the beach at Teewah a while back:

I reckoned that these would be easy to identify, but no luck. Anybody want to have a go?

Okay, I’m randomising again. Perhaps I should focus a little.

On the way to Teewah, the sky was flamboyant. It was all herringbone and ripples. As I understand it, this is a sign of an extremely unstable upper atmosphere. Something got up its nose. Anyway, as the trees whizzed past with the relatively stationary clouds in the distance, I was mesmerised. It doesn’t take a lot to mesmerise me. I’m hyper-sensitive to mesmerisation. Now I can’t stop saying the word. See what I mean.

So, to make a long story a little shorter, I started thinking about how to capture the effect most cleverly. It turned out to be simple, okay, relatively simple. Here’s an example:

My first efforts were not all that flash.

So, here’s how a photographer thinks:  First, I know I want a relatively slow shutter speed so that the trees in the foreground will be motion blurred. Here’s some nice motion blur, better than the first one:

Next, I have to remember to hold the camera pretty still, as moving the camera with the slow shutter speed will cause the clouds themselves to blur from “camera shake”. The image stabilisation gizmo in the camera can only do so much.

Also, I gotta make sure the camera can focus, since it’s going to get pretty confused by all the whizzing. That’s pretty simple. I just have to set it on manual focus and push it to infinity. Bob’s your uncle.

Except, and there’s always an except, with the slow shutter speed, there was way too much light. My G11 won’t stop down more than ƒ8, and that wasn’t enough. Fortunately, it has a nifty built-in neutral density filter which can be turned on with a couple of stabs of the finger. Once I got that set, the rest was easy. I could get it down to a nice, slow shutter speed:

The perfect sky and the perfect tree.

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Posted in On Tthe Road on March 24th, 2011 by MadDog
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“Been crook, mate.” is how an Australian might put it. It doesn’t refer to criminal activity. It means I’ve been sick. What seemed to be a waning viral chesty thing suddenly regained its foothold on my aging carcass and discovered a new and vigorous life in my tortured sinuses. I call this extremely poor timing. This is the first day in a week when I’ve felt like doing much other than laying in bed moaning about my face which felt as if it had been in intimate contact with the massive bumper of a speeding truck. This explains my absence from MPBM for a week.

Other than that, I’m having a pleasant, if surreal, time. The trip to Teewah was fun and refreshing. It took my mind off things for a while, a welcome interlude, indeed. I’m trying to retrain my mind to leave aside things best not thought of. Possibly you know what I mean. It’s those pesky themes which plague your thoughts, forcing you to go around and around trying to think of solutions to puzzles which have none. I had just about banished this kind of pointless mental exercise from my life. Recently it has returned with reinforcements. Now I have to subdue it again. The change of scenery is helping.

I’ll return to Teewah in my head this morning before I have to get to work and catch up on ten days worth of ignored urgencies. As the title implies, reflections are on my mind – not the moody kind – I disposed of that already. The watery places around Lake Cootharaba abound with captivating counter-images. Here are a few:

The phantom tree is far more, ummm . . . spiritual than its hardwood doppelganger.

The water here is deeply stained with tannin from the rotting vegetation:

The ground all around reminds one constantly that the path follows the contours of a giant sand dune.

Reflections create amusing symmetries everywhere:

There are great seas of magenta-tinged reeds. Nearly all of the vegetation in this area does not appear truly green to me. I find myself constantly removing magenta from green shades to make them look more natural to my eyes. That’s really a cheat. I shouldn’t be doing it. Coming from Madang, everything here looks dried out and sickly. I admit to freshening up the greens in these shots.

Huge swaths of scraggly forest show fresh evidence of bush fires. Two years ago an enormous portion of this area was burned out. Strangely, in these habitats, fires are not only untroublesome (to the vegetation, anyway), but absolutely vital the very survival of many species:

Many Australian plants cannot propagate without fire. The heat allows the seeds to escape from the protective pods. I’ll be talking about that in a post soon.

This burt-out Banksia tree is a good example. Though it finally succumbed to the last fire, its final crop of seeds was released to regenerate when things cooled off.

Here you see Ali Raynor cleverly taking my picture through the hole. No, that is not a spear she is holding.

What it is is the central spike of this plant. This is what is commonly (but politically incorrectly now, as I hear) called a “blackboy”. They are quite impressive and can live for hundreds of years. The proper name is Xanthorrhoea:

The reason for the political incorrectness of the common name is rather obvious, but seems just a little, uh . . . unnecessarily sensitive to me. Here’s the explanation which I casually ripped from Wikipedia:

“The best known common name for the Xanthorrhoea is blackboy. This name refers to the purported similarity in appearance of the trunked species to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. Some people now consider this name to be offensive, or at least belonging to the past, preferring instead grasstree.”

Okay, enough of that. I’d rather let them explain it.

As soon as we started up the path to the lake and encountered the wetlands further up the dune, we were surrounded by millions of toads ranging in size from a pencil eraser to a tennis ball. Did I mention that there were millions of them? Mind you, I didn’t count them. Apparently, they all come from these:

Yes, Virginia, those are tadpoles, some of them sprouting legs already. There were millions of them also. They seem to have no predators here. I suppose that their number is limited only by the size of the edible insect population available to feed the adults.

It seems that they grow up to be these:

I, being ignorant, of course, believed these to be cane toads – a menace if there ever was one. Discussing this with the ladies accompanying me proved to be useless. None of these Queenslanders could state with conviction that these were or were not cane toads. Possibly that is because none of them have engaged in the popuplar sport involving a doomed cane toad and a hefty golf club. This morning I perused Google Images for cane toad pictures. It’s my judgment that these are something else. These are nowhere near ugly enough. Comments are welcome.

Tomorrow I am off to Toogoolawah for a few days with Ali Raynor. I have absolutely no idea what is in store for me, but I hope it includes some spectacular images of skydiving, kangaroos, koalas and whatever else I can manage to get stuck into. I’ll have a dial-up connection there, so my postings may be sparse.

If I can shake off this disease, I’m going to have some fun.

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Photography Boot Camp – Class Day

Posted in On Tthe Road, Photography Boot Camp, Photography Tricks on March 18th, 2011 by MadDog
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For the last few days I’ve been passing on a bit of knowledge about photography to five women who were eager students. It’s been fun. We’ve covered some of the basics. We started off with The Exposure Triangle, some basic relationships which every photographer who is serious about images needs to know.

Some interesting questions were posed. How do I get the bird on the fence to be in focus while the background is blurred? How do I do macro photography? It’s amazing how many of these mysteries can be cleared up in a few hours of study and practice.

Since I’m leaving tomorrow morning, today was graduation day. I asked each of my friends to give me two images which they like to put here on MPBM. I’ll show them in alphabetical order. They are all interesting images and all illustrate that the material was well learned.

Here is Ali’s “Reflection”:Ali’s images lean toward the abstract, something which I like.

In “Impression” Ali shows that she has the basics of macro photography figured out:She’s currently hampered by a camera which has limited manual controls and tries to figure out everything for her.

This image, Jann’s “Banksia”, is nicely composed and very pleasing:She did a good job of capturing the sky reflected in the water.

And Jann has certainly learned to do macro:There is the slightest hint of motion blur in the enlarged image. Jann knows that a faster shutter speed would have fixed this. The composition here is good, also. Nice use of negative space and the subject is off-centre enough to add interest. The image has a voice. The ant is asking, “Where to now?”

I like the composition here in Martina’s “Man and Nature”:It’s a clever image.

Martina has also learned her lessons well in the area of depth of field:She now knows how to make the foreground of the image sharp while blurring the distant objects.

Most cameras will not expose this scene correctly. The clouds will be blocked to white and have little detail. In “On the Beach” Narelle has demonstrated that she can whip her camera into doing her will:Good on ya’, Narelle.

Here in “Teewah” Narelle again demonstrates correct exposure:All of the students learned more than I had hoped. What started as a lark ended up being more work than I had anticipated. My abilities to pass on my knowledge improve each time I work with students. I’ve pretty much learned what they will ask and have already figured out easy to understand explanations.

Val has long been a deft hand with macro. She’s captured many fine images of the tiny stuff. Here in “Magic Mushrooms” she shows that she can handle difficult situations. The light level here was very low. It required some jiggling of controls to get the shot. Most casual photographers never figure this out:Of course, most don’t need to, because they are never much interested in standing on their heads in near dark to get an interesting shot.

Here in “Coloured Sands” Val demonstrates a very conventional shot well exposed and nicely framed:

Val is one of those people who can truthfully say, “I’ve been everywhere, man!” She’s traveled around the world and is off once again in a short while – this time to Nepal. I’m jealous.

I’m quite happy with the work and progress of these five friends. I find teaching fun and I’m pretty patient. I kept having to remind them that there are no stupid questions.

There are only stupid answers.

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Climbing Mount Pasta

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 17th, 2011 by MadDog
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Today is my last full day at Teewah in Queensland, Australia. Like everything in life, it’s been a mixed bag of treasure and trash. I began the trip under a cloud on Sunday evening when I finally admitted to myself that I was sick.

I can pretty well predict when I’m going to have respiratory problems; the symptoms are always the same. There’s no point in boring you with the details. It suffices to say that we ended up at the emergency room at the Gympie hospital, a place where I would have been very happy never to have seen again. Eunie nearly died there only a few months ago. I was told that (a) it would cost me more than A$200 just to see someone, (b) I would have to go to a pharmacy to get an antibiotic (if, one was prescribed) and (c) no pharmacies were open. Clearly, it was not a place of healing for me. As it turned out, I have been sick for the last few days, but it appears that I will live.

Other than that, it has been mostly very pleasant. I am staying in a house on the beach with five women. That can’t be all bad, eh? I’ve been giving basic photography lessons for a couple of hours each day. That’s fun also. I’ve gotten plenty of exercise and seen some interesting things. If you desperately need to see me before tomorrow morning, you will find me under the red dot:Exotic, eh? Hot, too. The first day was cloudy, but it’s been steadily improving. Yesterday, I got a little sunburned.

Speaking of yesterday, I got some nice shots on the beach and up at the picnic table on the low dunes. Here are Martina and Ali strolling up the beach:Since I’ve been doing photography lessons for a while, I’ll let you know that I got this shot by placing the camera only a few centimetres above the sand and shooting upward. “Dramatic Angle” is a good rule of composition. We also have “The Rule of Thirds” (well, nearly), and “Diagonal Lines”. You can cram a lot of rules into one shot. Don’t beat it to death, though. It’s a pretty picture.

In the later afternoon, up at the picnic table on the rise behind the beach I noticed that I could see my shadow on the beach:

The little vertical shadow in the middle of the bright area on the beach is me. It seems pretty cool to me, as it is about fifty metres from where I was standing.

There were several flocks of birds on the beach. I got lucky with this shot:My next camera will have a brighter viewfinder. If I have one complaint with the Canon G11 it is that you can not see a blessed thing on the LCD screen in bright sun. It’s pretty worthless. I will say that this is a very common fault with many cameras. For this shot I had to point the camera in the general direction of the birds, since the LCD screen appeared pretty much black.

In this shot timing is the key. I came down to the beach to get some shots of Jann and Narelle on their boogie boards. As it turned out, I couldn’t get close enough to get a decent shot without getting me or (horrors) my camera wet. The water felt like ice to me. Ali came along down the beach. When I saw her raise her arms something in my brain said, “CLICK” and my finger obeyed:

Here an unidentified woman on the beach adds a focal point to an otherwise uninteresting image:
We started off to Lake Cootharaba sometime in the morning. I haven’t cared a bit what time it is since I left PNG. I don’t want to know. I’m just letting life flow over me. I’m a big, fat rock in the middle of the creek of time. Let it flow, baby, let it flow. Anyway, it soon became apparent that the sign that proclaimed “Lake Cootharaba – 2KM” was clearly insane. It was not even close. We walked and walked. It got hotter and hotter.

We finally arrived at a huge expanse of water that was very pretty, but otherwise not very useful. The water is the colour of strong tea. The average depth is only 1.5 metres:

Then we started the long climb up the big dune behind the village of Teewah. We did this for the view. I’m always suspicious of advice that suggests that the view will be much better if you only climb higher. My suggestion is usually, “I can see fine from here.” Still, a man must be dragged along in the company of women. I’m not complaining – really . . .

It was not unlike climbing a mountain of pasta, the extra slippery kind. For each step forward, the foot slides back ninety percent of the original stride. Add the heat, the still air, the blinding sun, remember that you’re getting hungry and thirsty too – pretty soon you’re wondering why you left the house. Being naturally lazy doesn’t help much, either.

Finally, we reached the top of the dune. I sensed downhill walking soon. I was much relieved. Even with sunglasses, the bright sunlight was blinding when reflected off the white sand:I could see my salvation over the top of the last rise.

The view was amusing. Worth the climb. I guess it depends on how much energy one is willing to spend to reach the goal. Mountain climbing has never been my thing. There’s too much I haven’t seen from down here. Still, it is a pretty sight:

I can’t say that I’m proud of that panorama, but it’s not my fault. The contrast between the sky and landscape here was ferocious. It’s obvious that I had to bring up the brightness of the landscape dramatically to get some kind of viewable image. It appeared nearly black by the time I got the sky down to a reasonable level.

Bored yet? Hey, wait until tomorrow. It will be class day at Photography Boot Camp.

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Sand – Teewah Beach

Posted in On Tthe Road on March 15th, 2011 by MadDog
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It’s been quite a while since I have done a simple photographic essay, one in which the images tell the story. I like that sort of thing, because I enjoy working with the images more than the words. Images obey my will. Works fight me.

Today, I’ll show you images which I took yesterday during my first stroll up Teewah Beach, which stretches for about a zillion kilometres up the Eastern Australian coast from Noosa. From the little village of Teewah this sandy access roads leads down to the beach:You’re not going to go much faster than twenty KPH once you reach the top of the rise.

Ealier in the day I came up in the back seat of a 4WD vehicle at eighty KPH on the hard-packed beach:It was an interesting ride, to say the least. It seemed to go on forever, but it is only a few kilometres.

The vehicles on the beach leave an interesting comment on occupation of Earth by the human species:In case you are wondering about the little round blobs of sand:For lack of a better term, I’ll call them crab pellets. As the crabs clean out their holes after a high tide, they roll up the sand in little balls and shove them around in amusing patterns.

I also leave my marks in the sand:

Above the beach lies a tangle of native Australian flora:I’m told that huge monitors live here. I haven’t seen any yet. I don’t know if my leg is being pulled. I’m so gullible.

Where sand and sea meet, colours clash:

Surprisingly little life is seen; a few sea birds, random crabs and washed up Bluebottle Jellyfish, a very dangerous critter:Here is a washed-up green bottle:

Someone had a party out at sea. There was no message inside.

I observe the crabs at work:

I saw many curious marks in the sand above the tide line where some spindly grass grows:

It took a few moments of observation to realise that they are caused by the tips of the grass blades continuously flipping grains of sand from their paths as the wind blows them about.

The sands in different areas of the beach are remarkably variable:

I hope to make a longer voyage up the beach soon to the area called Coloured Sands – sounds interesting.

Walking the beach gives one plenty of time to think between grabbing images. It’s simultaneously noisy with the sound of the pounding surf and sometimes disturbingly quiet. Time for reflection.

But not too much reflection.

Yes, I enjoy letting the images do most of the talking.

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Gympie Miscellanea

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 14th, 2011 by MadDog
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Today I’m off to a place called Teewah. I know there is beach there and a small village. I do not know if there is any wireless data connection. I’m guessing not. I’ll be there for four days unless natural disaster intervenes, so I may be off the air for a little while.

I have little idea what is in store for me, but I know it will be different from the normal routine. I filched this image of the area around Teewah from the web:Looks interesting, eh?

Time is running out this morning. I got up late. Now I have to rush a bit, so I’ll be mercifully brief. My last post contained an image of a Bromeliad similar to this one. This shows what the flowers look like when they come out:

Not long before I left Madang there were severe floods over wide areas of Queensland. Here are a few of Val’s images of the disaster:

Many businesses in Gympie were completely submerged. Even now some stores are still being repaired.

This is one of the more fortunate residents:

This is a Galah or Rose-breasted Cockatoo:

The word galah, in Australian usage means a person who is acting in a silly way.

This is a Morris Cowley, one of the most poorly named automobiles in history:

And, while on the subject of poorly named items, this is the Bellygood restaurant:

Okay, I’m out of time.

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