Wow! What a Start!

The new camera arrived on Monday, and I was itching to get out and try it. The weather has been quite warm and humid, though it was looking pretty grey when I headed out to the south shore of Lake Burrumbeet, so I wasn't sure what I was coming home with. By the time I got out there the clouds had really started to put on a show, and the stillness of the water had me shooting in all directions. And just when I was getting ready to head home, some lovely colour started to appear on the horizon to give me the last image here, probably the highlight of a great start to the new camera. I know they say its not the camera you have in hand, its the person holding it - and the previous weeks images taken with the backup camera certainly show that, but its nice to have something in hand when you get such awesome conditions that you know will do justice to what you're seeing.



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Autumn Signs at Birch's Creek

Though Lake Wendouree has been very productive this past week, I was itching to get out of town….so on Sunday I thought I'd head out to Smeaton to see if Birch's Creek was still flowing. Even though we had some good rain a couple of days ago, its still very dry in the district, so I was pleased to find some good flow at the creek just in front of Andersons Mill. Some nice patches of autumn colour are starting to appear, so I'll be making a few more visits here in the next few weeks. And some nice light on the way home, just a mile or so from the creek, had me pulling over to catch this group, just before they took flight and headed off in the opposite direction!



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Spectacular Saturday Sunrise

On Saturday morning I glanced out the window about 30 minutes before sunrise and noticed a slight tinge of colour…..10 minutes later I was on the west side of Lake Wendouree here in Ballarat as a spectacular start to the day started to unfold. There is always something special about the sunrise, especially where you're on your own…it also helps when its nice and mild! And the end of the day wasn't too bad, either……!





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Fridays Foggy Start

The warm, humid weather produced a nice morning fog at Lake Wendouree on Friday morning. Quite nice when you can sit down for breakfast and then go for a leisurely stroll and come home with this election. The jetty on the east side of the lake has recently been restored, and though initially I wasn't all that happy with the "brand new" look of it, it actually brings a bit of colour to these mostly mono tonal  scenes. Finished off with this curious young swan getting up close and personal.




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Finding a Gap

We had some good rainfall in the last 24 hours which led to some dramatic skies. THe first one here is from a walk up at Lake Wendouree around 5pm when some massive clouds were moving through, and occasionally opening up to the let the sun through. And then, right at the end of the day, the sun found a small gap to light up the Ballarat City Rowing Club shed with a late, golden light.

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The Jewell in the Crown

The beach on Ofu Island, about 100kms east of the main island of Tutuila in American Samoa, is considered the highlight of theNational Park of American Samoa….quite a challenge to get to, and we only had 4 hours and 42 minutes there on this afternoon! Hopefully this image conveys just how special it is, and how lucky we were to get some late colour in the sky after a mostly grey afternoon. I highly recommend clicking on this for a larger view!
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An Explosion of Colour

On Wednesday afternoon the clouds moved in, it was getting very grey and there were even a few drops of rain as I headed out, quite late, to see what I could find. On the western horizon was a slim band of light with a bit of colour that looked worth heading for, which meant heading out west to get closer to the action. As is often the case Lake Burrumbeet became the target, and time the I headed for Pelican Island Point. This large group of rocks is close to joining the mainland as the water level continues to fall, so I made it down to the shoreline to see what would happen. As the sun found a gap close to the horizon the light intensified and I was treated to one of the most intense colour displays I have seen for a long time. And whilst I was devoting much of the small window of opportunity to looking out west, I just happened to glance behind me to see the rainbow that quickly diverted my direction. I'm happy to report its been raining all night and we've had some pretty good falls that should start to refill the lakes and creeks and freshen up the district.



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The Jewell of the Park

Been back a few days now from our trip to American Samoa, where we got to visit our 51st USA National Park - only 8 to go, all in Alaska! Here's an image from our 4th day visit to Ofu Island, the jewell in the crown of this National Park….and quite an adventure getting there. This is an image I had in mind before hand, and my new underwater camera came through big time. Its a combination of 2 images taken from the same spot, and then merged together - make sure you click on it for a larger look. My main camera bit the dust soon after this as I was close to the shoreline and an errant wave splashed across it. It wasn't that big of a wave so I was surprised it killed the camera. Luckily the back-up camera filled in nicely for the rest of the trip.
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A Yellow Evening

Some strong yellows in the sky on Tuesday evening at Lake Wendouree after a warmer day than we have been having. Its set to continue today, with the possibility of thunderstorms - let's hope so!

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Lake Burrumbeet's Changing Ways

First trip out of town since we arrived home from American Samoa, and it paid off big time. In the couple of weeks since I've been out to Lake Burrumbeet, with the lack of rain the shoreline continues to change dramatically, and this series was a whole new revelation, and its so easy to get to! And if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know that these were all taken with my smaller, back-up camera, that's doing a great job whilst waiting for the new camera to arrive.



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Off to Ofu Island

On our 4th day we made a very early start to catch the boat out to Ofu Island. A six and a half hour trip that was quite an adventure. An old and pretty decrepit tramp steamer, packed with cargo and Samoans,  at the time it seemed like a crazy choice, and we had be warned there was a high likelihood that the boat may not return the next day as scheduled. But it was our only chance to get to the jewell of the National Park, Ofu Island. We left in the dark, and this series is from the first hour or so, just as the sun was coming up, and the main island of Tutuila was still in sight.


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Simple Sunday

On Sunday a late evening lap of Lake Wendouree presented 2 vastly different opportunities. First stop was a quick walk through the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, where the Conservatory was catching the last few rays of sunshine, and then a few minutes later on the other side of the lake, some colour snuck under the clouds to end the day.

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Getting High in American Samoa

I mean in elevation! On our first full day in Am Sam we did the 8.5km Mt Alava - Vatia Village hike in the National Park. The trip up to the top was tough enough...the trip back down to the village of Vatia on the north shore of the island was even tougher...and the heat and humidity didn't particularly help, either!
Then later in the day the view from the Vatia Pass Road looking down into the harbour was well timed just as some great clouds and light was developing. We did this road numerous times and it was always a treat to look down into the harbour.

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A Touch of Autumn

First full day back in Ballarat, and on a cold Saturday evening a simple stroll up to Lake Wendouree presented me with some nice signs of autumn colours. Because of the extremely dry summer I'm not expecting too much colour this autumn, though I have noticed a few patches starting to appear around town. Hopefully some decent rain soon will freshen things up.



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First Visit into the National Park of American Samoa

When we arrived on the first day in American Samoa, we were very fortunate to be met by a local American who had moved to the island over 30 years ago, and was married to a local Samoan lady. Rory turned out to be our saviour in many ways - without his help and guidance I doubt we would have had half the trip we ended up having. After arriving around noon, by mid afternoon I was pretty excited to be entering our 51st USA National Park. This first visit was just to get our bearings, and this view from the north side of the island, was a great beginning. Specatacular scenery with some great clouds and light to really whet my appetite. Much more to come......!
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Back to Normal

Back to Normal......well, sort of....! Just a couple of simple images today...the first is from the plane flight into Melbourne, somewhere over Gippsland where we flew through a fantastic, cloudy morning sky. Very hard to capture these views out of dirty, distorted aircraft windows, though in some ways that adds to the drama. And then a simple end to the day at Lake Wendouree. Keep in mind I'm shooting these recent images on my secondary, back-up camera after the wave killed my camera in American Samoa. I'm happy to advise that the new camera is ordered and on its way!

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Reflecting The Mill

I'm sure I've been able to get some internet by now in American Samoa, though I've been enjoying posting these unseen images....here's another from Anderson's Mill on Birch's Creek at Smeaton.
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Cracked and Salty

This image may be my favourite so far this year...its on the webpage, so hasn't made it to the blog until now. Lake Learmonth - Wow!
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Back on Deck in Ballarat

Arrived back in Ballarat on Friday just before lunch, and I have quite a few images to work through, I thought a good starting point was from the first night we spent in Apia in (Western) Samoa, the night before we were to fly over to American Samoa. A clear sky was enhanced by this lovely moon ring, with the palm tree adding that tropical touch. More, much more, to come.....!
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Magic

The forecast for Sunday morning was calm and freezing cold and that's exactly how it turned out (minus 3.4, in fact!). I had a fantastic...