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.
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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!
Datura's natural distribution is unknown, because the plant had been so widely distributed and cultivated by humans. This plant is growing at the Crystal Castle near Mullumbimby. The classic hanging trumpets are typical of Datura plants which are often seen in regular garden's across Australia.
The toxicity of the plant however is well known and can cause delirium or death. The irregularity of toxin strength from plant to plant means that Datura is particularly dangerous as a recreational drug. In some cultures, the plant is simply used as a poison.
Spring is in the air, and even the resident geckos have been getting busy. Just when you thought the torrent of baby photography was over too!
I was lucky to capture this relaxed portrait of our friend's one year old during a recent visit. The backlighting from the sun nicely frames his soft features and gentle eyes. Typically with my post production method, I've tightened the levels to exaggerate bright and dark. I've also added to sharpening to the eyes after resizing for the web.
I can't help myself! My baby boy is still almost the only thing I'm pointing the camera lens at these days. I think this may be my favourite photo of him so far, because it captures his friendly nature and his thoughtful glare. He also wrings his hands together a lot, and this photo was not posed beyond placing him on the sheep skin rug. It's also wonderful to be able to let him play in the nude in the middle of winter thanks to the wonderful Byron Bay weather recently.
Some tips for baby photography...
I tightened the levels in post processing to give it that "high key" light / white feeling, although you could achieve this by overexposing the shot to start with if you have enough light on the scene to get away with it.
I also used a feathered selection around the eyes and an unsharp mask filter to give the reflections in his eyes that really "sharp" crisp, in-focus look.
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.