Personally unfamiliar with this species, I awoke to their rhythmic screeching thinking that a white cockatoo was dying. What a pleasant surprise to find these giant birds outside my window instead.
Although listed as least concern on the threatened species list, their numbers are declining.
Their scientific name funereus comes from their black plumage, as if dressed for a funeral.
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I grew up on the space shuttle. Not literally, that would be weird. But as a young boy in the 1980's my deep seated love of technology and science was firmly grounded in NASA's shuttle program. I watched as Challenger disintegrated in the sky, and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch Discovery's launch, the first since Challenger. I recorded it on VHS and watched it over and over until it was almost TV static again.
Then, after Columbia exploded dramatically on re-entry, I watched Discovery return America to space once more, after another long break and political soul searching. Discovery is "my" shuttle. Just like some people have celebrity girlfriends, I have my shuttle.
I desperately wanted to see the last launch, Atlantis, but missed my chance. So when I won a trip to San Fran to see the Googleplex (another nerdy story), I took an extra week off work and high tailed it to NASA, Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. I spent the entire day by myself going on tour after tour, exhibit after exhibit, drinking in the NASA story and melting in a warm bath of nostalgia.
The climax of course was seeing the newly opened Atlantis space shuttle exhibit where I stood face to face with the beautiful great hulking beast of a spaceship, weathered and worn like a weary soldier. Despite her years, despite her faded tiles and retro consoles I still think of the space shuttle as one of the great icons of my lifetime. The shuttle is a bit like the De Lorean.. kind of timeless. If you saw one in operation today it wouldn't be out of place at all. It's still the past, it's still the future.
Although the shuttle has flown over my head countless times, there's nothing quite like standing directly in front of one. I think I must have stood there gaping for about an hour while groups of tourists flushed past me. NASA insists that the next manned spacecraft is around the corner, but either way, an important era has passed in the history of space travel.
Photo : Nikon D5100, ISO 3200 Handheld at 1/40 - 10 exposures merged into panorama.
I spent several hours walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco today. I must say, it is a massive expanse of parkland for a city. I was hard pressed to walk the entire 5kms. Let's be honest, "park" is a bit of an understatement for this sized tract of woodland in the middle of a city. Some of these trees are over 100 years old, and the park is featured in Charlie Chaplain movies, Dirty Harry and even Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Stepping into the various groves like this one and you quickly forget you are in a city at all, and expect druids, or bears, to come wandering past at any moment.
An repeated email just went out from an older post … this is what was meant to go out...
Hello old photoblog-I-haven't-used-in-months. I'm dusting you off momentarily to share maybe a photo of two from my travels in the United States of Amazing. Today I woke up in my motel in the ghetto, packed my things and ran for dear life to my upmarket accommodation a few blocks up. After dropping off my luggage I got voluntarily "lost" in the city streets (being truly lost is difficult with a smartphone). I found my way serendipitously to a small staircase that wound up the sheer cliffs to Coit Tower, an art deco concrete phallus that crowns the city nicely. On the way back down I couldn't help notice this little studio / office with commanding views of the bay. I imagine I'd get a lot of work done in an office like that. Or not. Maybe some light reading and a bit of guitar?
Here my lovely wife Anna does her best impression of a mermaid at the local Byron pool. An impression she's all to willing to convey, over and over, until I have to pull her from the water. I am still playing with the cheap underwater enclosure (Digipac) for the Nikon DSLR which is working pretty well. I also tightened the levels for better contrast in post, but didn't otherwise alter the colour too much.
This is a test of a new Digipac enclosure I bought for my Nikon DSLR. I took a leap of faith, and without testing, assumed the $100 case would protect my $2000 camera. Happily, it worked as intended. (Phew.)
My results were mixed. Conditions weren't great and I'll need more practice if I'm to get a nice barrel photo. The case and nikons menu system mean it's very difficult to change ISO and focus. I switched between Auto and Manual focus but auto means you can't fire off a volley of shots quick enough. Being a poor swimmer doesn't help either. Still, it's a good excuse to get out among the sand, sun and surf. Hopefully, more of this sort of thing to come with some practice!
I started this post, with a glass of red wine. With several in fact, to be honest. That is how all great monologues begin; uninhibited and well… ranty. My operating system’s spell checker tells me that ranty isn’t a word. Well, I think you know what I mean anyway, so screw you operating system.
I’ve always been a self confessed nerd. There’s no use hiding it. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve used the internet to bolster my knowledge of sport or mechanics. I just don’t care enough to pull it off in conversation. And despite the ongoing debate about nature vs nurture, I hold the opinion that no amount of environmental support would have made me any better at kicking a football towards it’s intended destination. Instead of feigning authority… I simply fess up to being a nerd, incapable of regular social intercourse. It’s not you, it’s me. Honest.
Living in Byron Bay, Australia, hippy capital of Australia, puts me in a peculiar position. On the one hand I have the pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo that comes from the new-age “spiritual” posse of the area and on the other there is the ultra-cool surfy demographic willing to throw themselves into the indiscriminate ocean in pursuit of a water based ride. Not to demean either group, which I hold in high enough regard, but I just can’t do it. I like the idea of both of course - free love and spiritual transcendence or the physically and socially rewarding surf culture both sound like perfectly edifying pursuits but I just don’t have the grapes for either. I’ve often mused that if God exists, why did he endow me with such a critical, skeptical epistemological view as to render himself non-existent? Or why if I’m so envious of the “cool” sporty types while I find more gratification in the intellectual pursuits of technology and philosophy than football and water sports.
To make matters worse, I’ve been endowed with the arrogant failure of my internal editor. Without a sense of “taboo”, I’ll happily engage my peers in conversations about politics, religion and sex where they’d rather discuss the weather, sport and local gossip. Who cares about such inane topics? Why do we fritter away our time of such inconsequential lines of inquiry? Perhaps I’ll never know, so instead I’ll probably continue to offend, rebuke and challenge my conversational partners in such exchanges. I’d rather be offended than bored. Wouldn’t you? Life’s too short to talk about the weather. Unless you are a meteorologist, in which case I’d love to pick your brains about the science.
Unfortunately I’ve imbued enough liquor to make all attempts at conclusion futile. It seemed such a good idea at the beginning, to start typing. And spellcheck certainly gives the illusion of some semblance of sobriety, but this is not the case. So instead I’ll stop here and post. I think I’m drunk enough to do that, though I may regret it later.
If this link hasn’t hit your INBOX already here it is:
On this page, you can submit your support for the Cultural Events Site Concept Plan directly to the council. The more submissions, the more likely we’ll see our great local festivals stick around!
The Concept Plan incorporates:
- approval for the site to be used for cultural, educational and outdoor events with associated camping;
- a cultural centre;
- a conference centre and associated accommodation;
- camping infrastructure and facilities; and
- a comprehensive vegetation management plan.
Well it’s official. After banging around town for a couple of years and buying a house here in 2009, I’m officially a local. After sending my car registration (via email) to the council offices, I have been awarded the coveted local parking sticker for the main beaches. No longer do I need to feed the ticket machine all my spare gold coins! This summer is looking better and better by the day.
In other news, Richard Branson recently declared in an interview that Byron Bay was his best holiday in recent memory and that Rae’s on Watego’s his favourite hotel. Nice!
Ben Musu and his partner Sarah have been going from strength to strength having successfully owned and operated renowned coffee hotspot Bayleaf Cafe, the newly prestigious St Elmo bar and now Targa in the new building corner of Marvell and Middleton street.
While St Elmo aims for the “high end” of the market with it’s service, style and well.. pricing, Targa manages to maintaing the former without being too hard on the latter.
I decided to go last friday, it’s opening weekend, and tried the Ossobucco Veal dish and a hearty glass of Italian wine (the name of which escapes me now). My companions got stuck into the Chick Pea pasta and the Sirloin, both of which were by all accounts apparently excellent. Now I don’t know whether it was the wine, but the veal was amazing. Rich italian flavours and stylings I’m unfamiliar with and that impressed me greatly.
The corner building is small, and the full house crowd meant we had to raise our voices to have a conversation, but I’m not sure if this was an opening night phenomena, or will be the tone in general. Either way, it was a nice vibe, just not the right time / place for a deep and meaningful discussion with my fellows.
So far, Targa has been a busy place since it’s opened with positive reviews from the locals. I’m booking a table next weekend.
Just had to post this rad vision from “rc-video.org” of surfers at Broken Head, Byron Bay.
Surf action on Saturday 10/7/10 at Broken Head, Byron Bay, Australia
Broken Head is the right hand point break at the southern end of Tallow Beach. It is a world class, sand bottom, long right hand wave.
The swell was up, but the rides were not particularly long.