Locked Down in Canberra (Floriade)

28 September to 9 October 2021, Canberra, ACT.

Click on any image to see it larger (if you’re on a PC at least).

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While in lockdown we are still allowed out to visit open places in our immediate area.  Usually I’ve just been going for walks in the reserve out the back but I have also made some visits to Floriade.  This is an annual flower festival in Canberra.  Usually it is jam-packed with tourists and visitors from other Australian states but because of lockdown it was not publicised and no-one can come into Canberra from outside.  Usually I don’t attend because of the crowds and because other than in small very occasional doses I find it all a bit twee, but it does have some interesting potential for photographs.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I visited Floriade three times.  The first time I was interested in trying focus stacking, taking lots of images and assembling them later to get arrays of all the flowers with all of them in focus.

I found it didn’t work as well as I was expecting.  We don’t see detailed arrays in perfect focus like that and I found that the detail was overwhelming the composition.  This first image is cropped in considerably for that reason.

I was using a Fujifilm X-E4 (for which you can specify start and end focus points for photo stacked images) and an 80mm f2.8 macro (and processing in Zerene Stacker) though as it turned out, most of the images didn’t really need a macro lens.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the original version of this image, there were too many flowers in focus for the eye to know where to rest.  I had to crop the image in considerably and also reprocess it so that fewer flowers were in focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This isn’t cropped in, it is as composed but the wind was blowing around so that the flowers were moving with respect to each other.  The camera took around 150 images but there was no way I could use all those.  So I selected 12 and combined those for essential detail, leaving the background out of focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This image didn’t require cropping and isn’t really part of Floriade.  These are flowers on reeds growing on a small swampy island and I got down low to take them against the light.

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This image is also not cropped, and works OK as a focus stack, with varying layers of white, green, red and purple.

Most of the images from this series I ended up discarding though.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

The second time I visited I had a very different approach.  I used a long telephoto with a very fast lens to get a flower or part of a flower in detail, with most everything else completely out of focus.

(A fast lens is one that opens very wide at maximum aperture and lets in lots of light with a small depth of field. To be precise, I used a Nikon D850 and 300mm f2.8 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, all taking at maximum aperture of f4.  The Fuji equivalent would be a 200mm f2 + 1.4x TC, but I do not have that lens.)

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Using a long lens with a shallow depth of field like this brings out subject isolation and for the most part worked much better than trying to get everything in focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

There were also some ducklings in the park.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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The third time I visited I had in mind a variation of the approach.  I still used the same long telephoto and this time I focus stacked, but only a small number of images.  The images could be dramatic with a single shot but only part of a flower might be in focus.  I wanted to see how it would work with a bit more depth of field to get the whole flower in focus. (Starting with the image above)

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This worked well but there was too much wind on this day (it doesn’t take much when focus stacking) so I had to be patient and wait for lulls..

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Locked Down in Canberra (Macro Landscapes in the Rain)

4 September to 5 October 2021, Canberra, ACT

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Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Small worlds in rain.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

(Acacia in bloom).

.Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I live backing onto a nature reserve.  The first five images are on the path at the back of the houses, no more than fifty yards or so from the back gate.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I decided to get some practice going out and shooting in heavy rain.  Some places you travel to you may well encounter it and not want to waste too much time sitting around.  I found it has interesting potential.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Almost all the rest are further out in the bush, no longer in heavy rain, and within about twenty minutes’ walk if I’m not stopping to take photographs.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

There’s no real need to describe most of these images (though feel free to ask questions).  I’ll add notes on how I took them at the end.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

As you may have noticed at the top, they were taken over a period of about a month.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

t. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

s. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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These two were at a different location, at the Jerrabombera Wetlands.

s. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

s.Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

These are on a young eucalypt just outside the back gate.  They look like caterpillars but they are actually spitfire bugs or sawfly larvae and are harmless to people and animals.  Sawflies are a kind of stingless wasp.  They are closest to the ancestral form of all hymenopterans (ants, wasps, bees and sawflies) and survive as fossils from the Jurassic.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

On the back path by the fence again.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back in the bush.

Though I didn’t encounter the heavy rain again, many of these images are taken during or after lighter rain, which brings out colours and changes the feeling.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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There are thirty-seven images here and only five were taken as a single image (marked with an “s” below them).  The rest were focus stacked.  Macro images have a very small depth of field, but to increase that you can take images at slightly different points of focus.  Then you need to combine them later in post-production using Photoshop or a dedicated program such as Zerene Stacker or Helicon Focus.  That’s focus stacking.

Focus stacking doesn’t require a macro lens or subject.  With a wide angle lens in a landscape you may not need many exposures.  At the extreme, using a 4mm circular fisheye lens, it required just two exposures to be in focus from around three inches to infinity (that’s the Pimilea Physodes image in this earlier post).  Conversely, macro depth of field is very small and I took as many as 600 exposures for some images in this post.

Anyone can focus stack, provided you have appropriate software to combine the images.  It’s good to stop down to f11 or so (to reduce the number of exposures) and useful to use manual focus, preferably with focus peak highlighting if you have it.

At the most basic level, you have the camera on a tripod, take separate exposures and carefully adjust the focus for each shot.  Alternatively, you can set the shutter going on fast burst and slowly move the focus through your desired range.  In both cases you need to be careful not to leave focus holes where you moved the focus too much between exposures.

It’s easier if your camera automates the process.  I have Nikon D850, Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujifilm X-E4 cameras that do that.  They all operate a bit differently.  The D850 and the X-T2 fire away from a starting focus point for a set number of exposures.  You also have to set the delay between exposures (usually 0) and the focus adjustment between exposures (usually a middling value in the range).

With the D850, when you finish a burst, the focus stays on the last exposure so if you haven’t specified enough frames, you just set it going again for the rest.  With the X-T2, it goes back to initial focus so if you didn’t specify enough frames, you need to increase the number and start again.  But it does make it easier to make a panorama in the same focus range.  Three of the images above were also panoramas, combining two or three focus stacks.

The X-E4 can operate like the X-T2 but it also has an Auto option where you can specify the start and end points, so you don’t end up shooting lots of autofocus frames.

In all cases, it is better to start a little before what you see as the initial focus point because you can easily miss what that really is.  When taking macro focus stacks, you need to carefully look through at different points of focus before taking the shot and even then it is easy to miss debris and extraneous elements that can disturb your composition.

It’s not necessary to use a tripod, though it definitely helps.  The second acacia image, that I have marked with a “t” was hand held (with a long telephoto lens).  There was some wind too and I was impressed how well Zerene Stacker dealt with that.  It did have a clean background against the tree though.  It would not have worked had there been other plants also blowing around further back.  The previous three images (from the previous day) may also have been hand-held.

The six images at the back of the houses were all taken with the D850 and a Sigma 180mm macro lens.  All the others were taken with Fuji, mainly the X-E4.  Most of those were taken with the 80mm macro (sometimes with 1.4x teleconverter) and I also used 8-16mm, 14mm and 100-400mm lenses.

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This post is the second of a short series of images from Lockdown in Canberra.  The previous one is here, two posts back.  The next one is (insert link when available).  They are interspersed with Uzbek monochrome posts.

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Locked Down in Canberra (Wildlife)

24 August to 24 September 2021, Canberra, ACT

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Currently we are in lockdown in Canberra with small levels of COVID at large while Victoria and NSW are also in lockdown with much larger COVID levels.   Hospitals and ambulance services in NSW and Victoria are already over capacity.  Current caseload indicates this will get worse and opening up prematurely for political reasons rather than health advice will not help.   Levels are much higher in NSW and Victoria probably due to flouting of the restrictions there including demonstrations and football final celebrations.  We are in this situation primarily due to the failure of the Federal Government to obtain timely vaccination supplies, set up quarantine centres and financially support the more vulnerable in the population (whereas large businesses are not required to repay hundreds of millions of dollars of excess payments).   Also because the NSW failed to lock down at the first Deltas case and instead waited 10 days.

The one hopeful factor is that vaccination is rapidly increasing.  Fully vaccinated people can still get COVID but they are less infectious, far less likely to have to go to hospital and then less likely to get long COVID.  In the ACT as of yesterday, we have 89.2% receiving the first dose and 60.9% fully vaccinated.

So in the meanwhile, as I said, we are in lockdown.  We mainly stay at home and currently we can leave to exercise for two hours a day in our local area.  This is slowly easing starting from the end of the week.  I am lucky to live at the edge of a nature reserve so I have been going out and photographing on many days.  Here are a selection of wildlife images from that.

I will continue making such posts midweek during lockdown though it may not be every week.

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Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroos.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Grey fantail.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroo.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroos.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Australian Magpie.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern grey kangaroo.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

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Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Little Corella (rare in Canberra).

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Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Common Bronzewing (though not common for me).

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Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Female Blue Wren.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Pied Currawang.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Chough.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Australian Wood Ducks

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

An Australian Wood Duck performing for me.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Kookaburras.

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.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Crimson Rosellas.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Australian Wood Ducks.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Cunningham’s Skinks.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Galah.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Peewee or Magpie-Lark.

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern Rosellas courting…

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Galahs pairing up…

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

.Australia, Australian Wood Ducks, Birds, Canberra, Cockatoo, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Little Corella, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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This post is the first of a short series of images from Lockdown in Canberra.  The next one is here, two posts on.  They are interspersed with Uzbek monochrome posts.

Live Music in Canberra in Times of COVID (Part 2)

December 2020 to February 2021, Canberra, ACT

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Continuing from the previous post….  Canberra has largely escaped COVID (so far at least).  It has never been mandatory to wear masks here and lockdown is a long tome ago.  There are few restrictions on live music now, though you have to be seated and not use a dance floor.  Other States have gone in and out of lockdown though, especially Victoria so interstate musicians were quite often unable to visit. This post is mainly of a couple of large events with many bands.  I have avoided including more than one image of each musician (over both posts) except where they appear as part of a band.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

On 20th December 2020, the Canberra Blues Society held its Christmas party, featuring Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides from Sydney.  It also included the monthly jam and there were six jamming bands.  This is Catherine Golden with Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides, who played both at the beginning and the end.

.Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Wayne Rigby (Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Ross Buchanan, with Jamming Band 1.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Steve Hartnett (Jamming Band 1).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

John van Buuren (Jamming Band 2).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Dave Jensen (Jamming Band 3).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Leo Joseph (Jamming Band 3).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Jeffro Martin (Jamming Band 4).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Mimo (Jamming Band 4).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Berno (Jamming Band 4).

.Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Johnny Huckle (Jamming Band 5).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Juanita Cucinotta (Jamming Band 5).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Calvin Welch (with Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides but playing here with Jamming Band 5).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides is back up again at the end.  This is Bonnie Kay.

Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Illya Szwec.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

The next big event was on 9th January, Bucky’s Birthday Bash.  This is Bucky (David Buckmaster) in an image from 2007.  The event has been held for many years and he played in last year’s event but he died of cancer last year, so the event continues in his honour.  There were six bands this year and P.J. O’Brien Band was supposed to be the climax but they were unable to attend due to a lockdown in New South Wales, so it was all local bands.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Johnny Reynolds (Johnny Reynolds Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Dave O’Neill (Rodeo Clowns).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Chris Van Der Wielen and Dene Burton (Urban Drover).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Mitch Preston (Chris Harland Blues Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Chris Harland.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Cam Hall (Sunbears, but playing here with Moondog).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Dylan Harding ()Sunbears).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Sunbears.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Wiesse Wade (Sunbears).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

On 19th January there was a celebration of  Mitch Preston’s Birthday at Smith’s Alternative (now a venue; originally a bookshop).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

30th January.  Fiona Boyes, who lived in Canberra for some years, came up from Victoria.  This is Ali Penney accompanying for a track or two on the piano.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Fiona Boyes.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

4th February.  Blues Roulette visited from Melbourne.  Organised by Ben Wicks, this is an array of eminent musicians that changes with each visit.  This is Jimi Hocking.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

James Southwell (Blues Roulette).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Davo Fester (on drums; Blues Roulette).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Jimi Hocking, James Southwell and Ben Wicks.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

5 February.  Pachamama at Gang Gang Cafe, Downer.

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Live Music in Canberra in Times of COVID (Part 1)

February to November 2020, Canberra, ACT

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I covered Thredbo Blues Festival in January 2020 and took some photographs at Goulburn Blues Festival in February. Then COVID hit and we went into lockdown.

Usually I cover Blues Festivals but not so much local bands because my processing methods are very time-intensive and three hours photographing may lead to three to five days on the computer, processing.  During the last year I had more time on my hands and no festivals for me for 2021, so I covered more local bands.  There will be two posts, this one and the next.

Altogether, since lockdown started last March, I have photographed eighteen events, 36 groups (including solo performers) and 153 people, though seven groups and 48 people are duplicated in different performances.  All performances are in Canberra but some of the musicians are from Sydney or Melbourne.

My selection may be somewhat arbitrary and I’m not trying to cover everyone but I have avoided putting anyone in twice.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
This is the Sisters and Brothers Community Choir playing upstairs at Beyond Q on the 29th February, just before we went into lockdown. Beyond Q was a wonderful second hand bookshop and a great music venue. They had had to change addresses due to a lease issue and just got organised at the new location. Sadly, they closed down due to COVID 19. From left to right there is Juanita Cucinotta, Juliet Reeve, Chris Cavanagh, Michelle Mannion, Julie Manley (my partner), Simon Daly, Don Dennes and Mary Bryden.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

It is now 7 June. We have been in lockdown for three months. This is the first gig I saw a notification for and must have been close to the first after lockdown. We are outside a small group of shops at Belconnen markets and in the open air because lockdown is just being slowly relaxed. Some of the shops appear to have been abandoned including the one in the background. This is DJ Gosper and Jeff Prime.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
It’s now a month later, 5th July, and indoor gigs are now allowed, albeit with limitations on seating and distancing. We are at the Artists’ Shed in Fyshwick. It may look as though we are way out in the country but that is just a backdrop. Dan Fernandes is playing solo as support.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
A couple of hours later, this is Bernie Keenan playing drums for Johnnie Reynolds Band.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel

10th July and further liberalisation has allowed Shane Pacey to come down from Sydney and play solo at the Keller Bar in the Harmonie German Club. Shane usually plays with the Bondi Cigars or the Shane Pacey Trio.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel .

31st July and this is Frank Sultana (based in Kiama) playing in the Keller Bar at the Harmonie German Club. He has Grant DW Barnes (not shown) supporting him on harmonica on some tracks.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
8 August and this is Ana Key and the Underdogs playing at the Artists’ Shed in Fyshwick.  You can see the background in context here.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Ole Nielsen.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Ana Key.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

5th September and this is Milena Cifali launching her book Mallacoota Time at East Hotel, Kingston.  The event included book recitals, poetry recitals and musical performances.  While Milena and Jim were away in Queensland they were burnt out of their Mallacoota house in the huge fires of January 2020 and lost all their possessions and most of their birds.  Here, I am also in the photo, using a cable release to trigger the camera and fisheye lens.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is at a second book launch the next day at the Artists’ Shed in Fyshwick.  This is Peter Swain.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Jim Horvath, Milena’s husband.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

2nd October and this is 19 Twenty at the Abbey.  John Gwilliam is on double bass.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Syd Green.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Kane Dennelly.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

19 Twenty.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
9th October and this is Paul Callan with Johnny Reynolds Band at the Austrian Club.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Johnny Reynolds Band.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
15th October at the Basement, Belconnen.  Chris Harland Blues Band (setting up).  Restrictions were in place including that you need to stick to your seat, not visit other tables and no dancing on the dance floor.  Most of those restrictions are still in place but now you can mingle.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Paul Leeder.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Rick Milliband.

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Moondog was up next, playing solo.

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Owen Campbell was the final act for the night.

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It was a three-piece band, including Matt Nightingale on bass.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
27th November, this is Llara Weaver, part of Stella’s Way, at the Basement Belconnen.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Stella’s Way.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Next up was Ana Key and the Underdogs,  This is Stephen Deakin.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Keith Joliffe.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Last band for the night was Carnival Road.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not set up, this was just at the side of the stage.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

3rd December. Julian James, Keller Bar, Harmonie German Club.

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Keeping quiet in Canberra

February 2020 to January 2021, Canberra, ACT

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My last local post in January 2020 was Australia Burning, which included images taken in Canberra on one of two days when bushfire smoke meant Canberra had the worst air quality of any city in the world.  Then COVID struck.

There was lockdown in Canberra for a month or two but there have been no local cases since last April, just a handful of incoming people in quarantine hotels.  There are currently no locally-sourced cases in Australia, just a few incoming travellers.  Though many criticisms can be made, State and Federal Governments did fairly well, supporting many people (though with glaring holes) and following medical advice.  State Governments have been prepared to engage lockdowns where necessary and from time to time closing off State borders and isolating localities.  People arriving from overseas have to stay for a fortnight in a quarantine hotel.

Unfortunately, while the Federal Government has been prepared to follow medical advice, it shows no signs of being willing to follow scientific advice on climate change.  Huge areas burned in January and a significant majority of the population want effective action on climate change. If nothing continues to be done, temperatures will continue to rise, fires will become larger and more prevalent, the ecology and wildlife of the country will be devastated and the capacity for agricultural production will greatly decline.

In the meantime though, I have made no overseas trips since 2019 due to COVID and have been keeping fairly quiet.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Buoys in a small canal at Kingston Foreshore.

In March I joined a Fuji event that allowed you to use various new cameras and lenses. I tried some of these but this image and the next were taken with my X-T2 and 100-400mm lens.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Reflections in the same canal.

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Roots of a bonsai tree at the National Arboretum.

In June I visited the Bonsai Garden at the Arboretum and took this photo with my Fuji 80mm macro lens.  It is focus-stacked, which means I have taken many images at different points of focus and later combined them with software.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Succulent in the front garden.

In August I had purchased a Fuji 8-16mm zoom and took some test shots in the front garden, this one and the next one.  The succulents are quite small so it’s almost macro because the lens can focus quite close.  These are also focus-stacked but because I was using a very wide angle lens, that required only a few exposures.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Small flowers in the front garden.

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Grevillea Macleayana.

I also visited the Australian National Botanic Gardens from time to time, this image and the next four.  The first three were taken in September and the last two in October.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Telopea Speciosissima.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Banksia Spinulosa.

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Pimilea Physodes and panorama near the Visitor’s Centrte.

I took this with a circular fisheye lens and it is also focus-stacked, with just two exposures.  The depth of field is amazing, but not quite enough to go from the stamens of the flower (0.1 metres) to infinity in one exposure.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Grevillea Macleayana.

Another focus-stacked exposure with the Fuji 80mm macro lens.  This one took 70 exposures and I had to wait for it to be still and retake it several times when a breeze came up during the exposure.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Archie Webb in the Top 12 Challenge.

I have also gone back to table tennis, both socially and competition and this is an image I took in October at the Top 12 Challenge, with the top 12 Canberra players competing for prizes.  Archie is the leading competition player but he did not win this challenge.  Here he is gearing up for a forehand loop.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

ACT Table Tennis Open.

I also took photographs at the ACT Open in November.  Table Tennis is remarkable in that players of very different ages can compete equally.  The far player is Faisal Pirwani and he is returning the ball with his backhand,  He is one of Canberra’s leading players; I do not know the name of the youngster but from his shirt he probably comes from Melbourne.  Some young players can be very good.  We had a couple of players as old as 93 in the Social Seniors Group prior to COVID though they have not returned since.

(The two table tennis shots were taken with a Nikon D850 and 85mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4 lenses respectively).

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Malua Bay rock pool.

In early January we went for a trip “down the coast” (which means to the south coast of New South Wales, near Canberra).  This image and the next two were taken on that trip.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma.

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At Glasshouse Rocks looking through to Montague Island Lighthouse.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroos at an Ainslie pond.

I live backing on to a reserve and a week or so later, we had a long walk to a couple of ponds in that reserve.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Pond reflections.

Since I am mentioning equipment in this post, the Malua Bay rock pool was taken with the Fuji 80mm macro and the last four with the Fuji 100-400mm.

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Australia Burning

12 September 2019 to 5 January 2020, Canberra, ACT

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The first part of this post is images taken out the back of where I live in Canberra. The second part is images taken this morning in a very smoky Canberra.  (If you are on a computer, click any image to see it larger).

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

We live backing on to a reserve and often take a half hour walk out the back in the mornings.  On our walk four months ago in early spring, this is an acacia baileyana coming out in flower,

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo and joey.  You can see there is very little grass for them to eat.  We have had a very long drought.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo and joey in late afternoon light.  Both kangaroo images are in early spring.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Crimson rosella at a nesting hole.  This and the next three images are in late spring.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Cunningham’s skink in their fallen-tree home.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Callistemon phoenicius in the back yard.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Shingleback in the back yard.  An ancient-looking lizard.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Echidna in the back yard on New Year’s Eve.  They are one of only two monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, the other being the platypus.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

If you are living outside Australia, your have probably heard of the massive fires here at present.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

On New Year’s Day, Canberra had the worst air quality of any city in the world, worse than Delhi and Beijing, due to bushfire smoke drifting in from the south coast of New South Wales.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

This followed a peak fire day.  We had another one yesterday and the smoke was as bad today, so I got up early to take some photographs.  This is the Australian War Memorial.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Carillon, on Aspen Island, Lake Burley Griffin, and ducks.

Yesterday, the day before I took these i9mages, we had record temperatures in Canberra at 44ºC or 111ºF.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

The fires are unprecedented.  Simple equation really.  Take unprecedented drought, add unprecedented heat, and you get unprecedented fires.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

Small island in Lake Burley Griffin near the Carillon.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

 

There are hundreds of fires currently in Australia, many out of control.  The number doesn’t mean much because they combine to form larger and more dangerous fires.  The fires have burned 105,000 square kilometres so far (40,000 square miles), about the size of South Korea or Iceland (updated 7 Jan) and they will continue for weeks or months, flaring up sporadically to peak intensity.  In recent days there has been an unprecedented evacuation of thousands of people from the south coast of New South Wales and north east Victoria.  This continues as different towns and hamlets come under threat.  In a week or two the fires might reach Canberra. So far dozens of people have died and thousands of buildings have been burnt, including well over one thousand homes.

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Reconciliation Place and National Library.

The toll on wildlife has also been alarming.  I recall an estimate of 500,000 animals dead and koalas are in danger of extinction.  Fires have also razed through rainforests, normally too wet to be affected and not equi8pped to recover.

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Old Parliament House.

Although there are weather patterns and variations that have always affected Australia, these fires are unprecedented and a major cause is the Climate Crisis, primarily caused by human activity..

Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

 

Old Parliament House and a flock of straw-necked ibis.  The white ibis has adapted to urban life and is colloqually known as “bin chickens” but the straw necked ibis is not as urbanised.

The situation with these bushfires is not a one-off event, however drawn out, and it is not relevant only to Australia though different places may see change in different ways.  The extent of global warming that is already with us is causing an uncomfortable new “normal” and long lags mean even the most concerted action will be slow to arrest this.

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New Parliament House.

Of course there is much we can do and the first step is to reduce our dependence as much as possible on petroleum and coal.

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Australia, Birds, Canberra, Crimson Rosella, Cunningham's Skink, Echidna, Fires, Kangaroos, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Shingleback, Smoke, Travel, Wildlife

In front of the Parliament House, I encountered a group of Climate Refugees from the South Coast Fires, there for an impromptu cricket match.

The worst approach to the Climate Crisis is to pretend it isn’t happening, in defiance of all the scientific evidence, and do nothing.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Government of Australia has been doing.

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And the cricket match is under way.

The Liberal-National coalition government is sometimes known as the COALition and it is in the grip of a climate-denying fringe.  Prime Minister Morrison notoriously brandished a lump of coal with glee in Parliament and won the last election with an astonishing lack of policies including no policy at all on energy.

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It’s a heavily grassed pitch.

Not long before the fires hit, Morrison refused to meet forty-two former Bushfire Chiefs who wanted to talk to him about the Climate Crisis and preparations for the oncoming fire season.  He had also greatly reduced bushfire budgets and requests for better water-dropping planes had sat with the Government for several years.

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Some balls are there to be hit.

In Mallacouta last weekend, four or five thousand people sat on the beach while the fires invaded the town.  The sky was black after 9am, then red, then orange.  Falling ash made breathing difficult and the temperature reached 49°C.  Just as people were about to get into the water, the wind changed and the town was saved, at least for a few more days.

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Others are very tempting.

In this fire crisis, Morrison has displayed startling insensitivity and alienated a significant part of the population, some of whom might have voted for him.  He went on holiday in Hawaii as the main crisis broke out and didn’t significantly change his return date.  The he tried to pretend it was just a normal situation in order to avoid any mention of the Climate Crisis.  He was heckled by locals when he turned up unannounced in the burnt out town of Cobargo.  While he was there he grabbed the hand of a young woman to shake it, quite uninvited.  She was pregnant, had just lost her house and asked him for help.  He turned his back on her and walked away.  He later denied doing this but it was recorded on video.  There are other stories.

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And some just get away from you.

The scale of the fires and their ongoing nature is forcing Morrison to act but he is most unlikely to address underlying problems.  For that we can only hope for a different and better government and for that we are likely to have to wait another two years.

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This is back at the Old Parliament House.  The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been there since 1973 and it is off to the left.  This is a display they have set up to proclaim Aboriginal sovereignty over land.

One common refrain is that there should be more preventative burning in the appropriate season, as the Aborigines used to do.  While there is some truth in this, it is not as easy as it sounds.  For one thing, the cool damp winter window for this is much reduced on what it was and last year the fire season started in winter.  For another, the ecology is not what it was.  In many places, Aborigines farmed the land and lived in houses and even towns.  This was recorded by the first settlers but quickly wiped out and then hidden lest it be a basis for claims on land.  Sheep and cattle grazed the perennial native grasslands to the roots, then trampled and compacted the thin soil.  Fire managed grasslands became scrub so it’s all very different now.

We also have other problems in our modern world of supposedly perpetual growth and prosperity, even apart from the Climate Crisis.  Sustainable development is a wider problem.  You may have heard of the “insect armeggedon” whereby 80% of insects have died in the last forty years, thereby threatening the viability of flowering plants and other species.  This may be partly due to Climate Change but likely more due to unnecessary agricultural poisons.  There is also the perplexing problems of micro-plastics, invading the food chain and our lungs with unknown effects.  And then there is the problem that there are simply too many humans and they are increasing too rapidly.

There are solutions for all these problems but they will require wisdom, coordination and determination.  Things are certain to get worse before they can get better.

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I can suggest a couple of books you may be interested in reading.

One is “Dark Emu” by Bruce Pascoe which outlines the extent of Aboriginal civilisation (yes!) prior to European arrival.

The other is “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells which outlines the problems we face in the Climate Crisis and what we might do to ameliorate them.

Red White Amber and Blues Festival 2019

This is the first Blues Festival in Canberra for over twenty years, taking place over three days and nights on a weekend at the end of October. Here is a selection of images, and links at the bottom to more.

Under the performers, I’ve added YouTube links to their music.

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On Friday there were five performers, playing acoustic.

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James Southwell.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Mark Easton.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel
Geoff Achison.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Lloyd Spiegel.

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Then it rained heavily, while Lloyd Spiegel was still playing.

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Phil Manning.

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There was eight bands on Saturday.

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Marji Curran, Marji Curran Band.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

John Gwilliam with 19-Twenty.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Kane Denelly with 19-Twenty.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Milena Barrett.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Ali Penney, Ali Penney and the Moneymakers.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

James Southwell with James Southwell Band.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Marshall and the Fro.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Marshall and the Fro.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Steve Edmonds, Steve Edmonds Band.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Kevin Borich, Ken Borich Express.

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On Sunday, there was another seven bands.

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Rebecca Davey with Dreamboogie.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Darren Jack.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Sammy Owen, Sammy Owen Blues Band.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Lachy Doley, Lachy Doley Group.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Shane Pacey with Bondi Cigars.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Bondi Cigars.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Matt Taylor with Chain.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Phil Manning, Chain.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Dirk du Bois, Chain.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

John Creech with Russell Morris.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Russell Morris.

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Australia, Blues, Blues Festivals, Canberra, Live Music, Photography, Red White Amber and Blues Festival, Travel

Russell Morris Band.

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There are many more images. On the Other Blues Festivals Page . you will find links to images from this Festival. Links include top 100 images, selected monochromes and one for each of the 20 bands.

Alternatively, there is also a direct overall link to all Red White Amber and Blues Festival 2019 images in JAlbum (with overview images and images by band organised by folder). There are 362 images in all.

For other images of a particular band I may have taken since 2006, see the Musicians and Bands Page .

International Blues Day 2019

Canberra, Australia, 3 August 2019

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This is this year’s incarnation of the International Blues Day celebrations put on by the Canberra Blues Society. I also had two albums of A3+ prints for sale, so I was not able to photograph some of the earlier bands. I have included a selection of monochrome conversions of performers and not included overall band shots.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Leo Joseph (Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Matt Nightingale (Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Dave Blanken (Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Mitch Preston (Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Juanita Cucinotta (Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys).

Queen Juanita and the Zydeco Cowboys (in colour:  17 images)

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Matt Roberts (Kate Lush Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Tony Boyd (Kate Lush Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Christian Young (Kate Lush Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Wes Harder (Kate Lush Band).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Kate Lush (Kate Lush Band).

Kate Lush Band (in colour:  18 images)

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Steve Hartnett (Blue Tone Specials).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Dave McRae (Blue Tone Specials).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Doug Curry (Blue Tone Specials).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Matthew Fitzgerald (Blue Tone Specials).

Blue Tone Specials (in colour:  16 images)

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Anne Blunn, Peter Demain, Russ Lawrence and others.

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Nardia Brancatisano and Justin Yap (Rambal).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Jordan Pereira (Rambal).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Ollie Rolfe (Rambal).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Ben Wicks (Rambal).

Rambal (in colour: 12 images).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

John Russell (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Steve Lovarini (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Mark Roulston (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Ian Dittman (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Joe (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Ben (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Ven Licciardello and Deborah Frederick (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Lois Padgham and Bernard (The Bellhops).

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Australia, Blues, Canberra, Canberra Blues Society, International Blues Day, Live Music, Photography, Travel

Dancers (The Bellhops).

The Bellhops (in colour:  22 images).

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Canberra Nature, 2018

February 2018 to February 2019, Canberra, ACT

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In the changeover from one trip to another, here are some local images from the last year.

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There are two groups of images. The first is from a Nikon-sponsored event on Black Mountain Peninsular, late one afternoon.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

No prizes for identifying these birds.  They were cited in the second century AD by Roman poet Juvenal as an example of something that could not exist.  They were originally believed to be a hoax when reported back in Europe by the Dutch in 1697.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Lake Burley Griffin in the late afternoon light.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

After a while, I mainly focused on semi-abstract details.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

There was a prize of a canvas print for best image of the afternoon.  I won that with this image.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife .

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The remaining images are out the back of where we live, in Canberra Nature Park, or in the case of the first image, in the back yard.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo in the back yard, through the dining room window.

Over many months towards the end of last year there was a severe drought and there was no grass left for the kangaroos on Mount Ainslie.  The kangaroos would come down at night to eat on the roadside grass verges.  At the same time our back fence had disintegrated so we had kangaroos coming in at night as dinner guests.  This is one still there in the morning.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroo in Fog.

Before we left on the Uzbekistan trip at the end of September, there were many kangaroos on the mountain and we would often see mobs of twenty or thirty.  One time I counted and we saw one hundred and thirty kangaroos on our half-hour morning walk.  They were under pressure at this time and we found two discarded kangaroo fetuses in our back yard.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Close up of young kangaroo.

When we came back from the trip there were none, or so it seemed.  They had either found alternative pasture, perhaps beyond the other side of the mountain, or I suspect more likely, there had been a mass starvation event.  Numbers recovered a bit and we now usually see between three and ten kangaroos on our morning walk.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Big male kangaroo reclining in shade.

Canberra has a controversial annual kangaroo cull.  Kangaroos have greatly increased in number due to clearing of forests with European settlement and there are around fifty million of them in Australia.  The Australian Capital Territory Government says that without a cull there will be greater kangaroo population explosions and crashes, while rare plants are threatened when the kangaroos feel pressured to eat everything in sight.  Animal rights groups are opposed to this and demonstrate against the Government.  If I correctly interpret these events, the Government may have a sensible strategy.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Cunningham’s Skinks (and background insects).

On our walk every morning we go past a hollow log where a family of Cunningham’s Skinks live.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

If it’s warm enough they come up on top of the log in the sun, perhaps also to catch passing insects.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

This is a small one.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

They are much larger than a garden skink.  They grow to 40 centimetres (16 inches) and are viviparous (give birth to live young).

All of these Cunningham’s Skink shots are focus stacked, in other words, multiple images combined for depth of focus.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Superb Parrots.

(No, really, that’s what they’re called).

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Superb parrots are a bird of inland New South Wales and Canberra is on the edge of their range.  They are increasing in Canberra but this is partly because they are being pushed out of their normal habitat by climate change and land clearing, and they are classified as vulnerable.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

They prefer to nest in two species of eucalypts, Scribbly Gums and Blakely’s Red Gums with a trunk diameter of 1.1 metres or more, and 95% of their natural woodland environment has been cleared.

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Australia, Birds, Black Swans, Canberra, Cunningham's Skink, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Superb Parrots, Travel, Wildlife

Eastern Bearded Dragon.

At one point in our morning walk there is a dead tree that forms an archway over the path.  I used to sometimes hit my head on it until it settled a bit lower.  One day there was a dragon stretched out on the top though pretty well camouflaged.  I went back for my camera and this image is also focus stacked.

Males grow to about 60 centimetres (24 inches) long and they are diurnal.