Chania Harbourside

Chania, Crete, Greece, 19 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Palaiochora, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

Looking across Chania Harbour.

We’d arrived the previous evening after driving from Sougia (previous post) and were staying nearby in the old city.

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Giali Tzami (Mosque of the Seaside), taken from the same spot.

This was the first mosque built in Chania, in 1649, shortly after the Ottoman takeover.  After the last Moslems left in 1923 (following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922), it became first a museum and then an art gallery.

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Chania lighthouse.

The original lighthouse was built by the Venetians between 1595 and 1601.   It was destroyed in1645 after the Ottoman takeover.  It was rebuilt by Egyptian troops under the Ottoman Empire in 1864, upon the original base.  Crete had been run by Mohammed Ali of Egypt from 1830 to 1840, during the time when he had built an empire inside the Ottoman Empire.

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Street musicians.

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The Firka Fortress.

It was built in 1629 by the Venetians to protect the harbour from invaders such as the Ottomans who turned up in 1645.  A chain could be raised across the harbour mouth from the fortress to the lighthouse.

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A submarine in Chania Harbour?

No, not really but you can go inside it and view underwater through glass windows.

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Harbour wall and a glass-bottom boat.

My guess is that there were cannons on the wall and the small building was the ammunition store.

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Elegant harbour-side transport.

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A reflection in the water (you probably worked that out).

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Walking beside the Neoria or dockyards.

The Neoria were for maintenance of ships.  There is a long history of such structures and there were similar ones in Carthage for example.  The first ones were built by the Venetians in 1204, when Venice occupied Crete following the Latin conquest of Byzantium during the Fourth Crusade.  By 1607 there were twenty-two Neoria.  This row of seven survive, plus another single one further west.

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Is it a fishing boat or a street market?

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View across a flotilla of moored small boats to the Neoria.

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Another elegant harbour-side transport, this time with a female driver aged maybe eight.

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Minaret and bell tower behind the Neoria.

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Harbour-side views.

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. Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Palaiochora, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Street photography, Travel .

. Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Palaiochora, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

A view of the lighthouse from walking along the harbour wall (there was no entry).

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Looking back along the harbour wall.

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Walls with perhaps many stories to tell.

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Boats and Neoria.

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Fishing boat and nets.

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Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Palaiochora, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

The Grand Arsenal of Chania.

This is a long building because it was originally one of the Neoria, built around 1585.  It was converted to a conventional building in the mid nineteenth century and a second floor added in 1872.  It was damaged by German bombing in the Second World War and reconstructed in 2002.  It is now the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture and  hosts events, conferences, theatrical performances, workshops and concerts.

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Architecture, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Palaiochora, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

The pseudo-submarine at the harbour mouth.

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The water in the harbour is surprisingly clear.

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A last look at the lighthouse….
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Sougia to Chania

Sougia to Chania, Crete, Greece, 18 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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This post covers our journey from Sougia to Chania in Western Crete.

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The first images are from the road from Sougia to Palaiochora.

There are many layers here, terraces, occupied and unoccupied rural buildings.

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A residence in a rocky landscape that recedes into the fog.

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Perhaps a monastery and a bell tower.

I suspect it is too substantial for just a church.  There is also some terracing visible, probably for crops.

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A distant church on a remote peak.

This image and the next are close to Palaiochora.  The previous three were close to Sougia.

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Side road and tree.

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This is the point of the peninsula at Palaiochora.

It is taken from the beach at the road from Sougia.  There is a harbour round the other side of that point.

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Extension of the previous shot, panning to the right.

Not sure why I didn’t make them join up to a panorama.

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Zooming in, the Venetian fort atop the town.

It was built in 1278, destroyed in 1332, rebuilt in 1334, destroyed in 1539, rebuilt in 1595 and destroyed some time before 1834.

During the Second World War, there was a battle between German motorcycle reconnaisance troops and a Greek regiment with some Cretan Gendarmes.  The Germans built gun emplacements in the fort that are still visible today.

We intended to visit the fort but couldn’t find any parking nearby.  So, being concerned not to turn up too late to our accommodation in Chania, we kept driving.

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A small village on a strategic ridge with a church, a graveyard and a number of buildings.

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A house and a small church.

This is also visible in mid right of the previous image.  There is a man, a utility and a small flock of sheep.  there is also a very small village in the background, some of which appears relatively new.

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Back at the village on the ridge, here is a duplex half occupied and half ruined.

The occupied half includes a spiral staircase up to a small roof balcony.

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A church overlooking an ancient coastline.

However, the buildings on the point are not ancient.  They are perhaps holiday homes for wealthy residents of Chania, with several swimming pools visible.

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Not everyone is affluent.

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This is a rocky and impoverished part of Crete where most of the young people have left to find employment and there are many derelict houses.  in real estate parlance, renovators’ dreams.

Western Crete has probably been remote for a long time.  I don’t know how close they were to these villages, but somewhere in the mountains of Western Crete was a group of Communists who held out twenty years after the civil war had finished in mainland Greece.

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Lots of interesting detail.  People live in some buildings while other buildings erode away.

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At first sight, someone is using this decaying building for their daily garage.

However, the van is not going anywhere fast.  Its wheels are covered in sacks and the rear window is covered in dust.

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It’s almost like a modern archaeological site.

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An olive farm on the skyline.

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The last two images are somewhere near the north-west corner of the island.

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Sougia and Syia

Lissos to Sougia and Syia, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Archaeology, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Sougia, Syia, Travel

Captain George to the rescue!

Here we are still in Lissos, the ancient ruined Minoan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine city from the last post, watching the arrival of our sea transport to return to Sougia.  There was a sign onshore giving a phone number and saying he would be there in ten minutes.

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A view of the cliffs from the boat on the journey back.

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Sougia in the distance, taken with a very long lens.

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If there’s an earthquake, I think you don’t want to be under this cliff.

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Probably only the hardiest of trees can survive here.

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A lone tree against the horizon.

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We’re back in Sougia now. 

This may be a view from where we were staying.  There is a swimmer in the water and a ship on the horizon.

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We went for a walk around Sougia and discovered traces of the ancient city of Syia.

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A very old olive tree, probably with a net for olives wrapped around it.

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These are Roman tombs.

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Though Syia was a Minoan port, the excavated ruins are Roman and early Byzantine. 

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Much is still yet to be excavated.

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There is apparently an aqueduct outside town visible from the road.  There are also ruins of Roman buildings and three large early Christian Basilicas.  There is more there than we saw at the time.

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Remains of an ancient wall.

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Another stone circle, similar to the one we saw at Lissos.

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Lissos

Lissos, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Archaeology, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Lissos, Nature, Photography, Travel

Panagia Chapel.

The last image in the last post showed the coastline of Lissos Valley, with this chapel just visible  near the sea.  This image is from the route in, and taken from at same position as that previous image, but with a long telephoto instead of a wide angle lens.

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Roman tombs in the necropolis on the far side of the hill.

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An ancient ruined house, probably from the Roman period.

Lissos was a Minoan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine city until it was destroyed by Arabs who invaded from Spain in the 820s and occupied Crete until they were driven out by the Byzantines in 961.  It was one of the two ports of the Dorian city of Elyros (further inland) along with Syia (the ancient name for Sougia).  It was the only city on this part of the South Coast to issue its own coinage.

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Temple of Asklepios.

This image and the next three is at the Temple of Asklepios, built in the 2nd or 3rd century BC.  Dedicated to the God of Medicine, people came here in ancient times to partake of the healing properties of its springs.  It was destroyed by an earthquake which covered it with rocks from the cliffs above and also partly preserved it.  When it was excavated in the 1950s many statues were recovered and marbke floors revealed.

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Archaeology, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Lissos, Nature, Photography, Travel .

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Archaeology, Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Lissos, Nature, Photography, Travel .

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The Church of Agios Kyrikos.

This is a 14th century church, not the same as the one near the coast we saw earlier.  (And Agios Kyrikos is not to be confused with Nicholas Kyrgios, not the same at all).

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The view inside.

It looks as though I missed an opportunity to examine the paintings on the left hand wall, which probably come from the original church in the 6th century AD.  However, I suspect access may have been restricted to the back of the church.

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Ruined house nearby.

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There are quite a few fragments of ruined houses, many from the Roman era.

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Stone circle of unknown provenance (unknown to me at any rate).

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There is also much that is yet to be excavated.

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Unsurprisingly, there are many ancient olive trees.

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The patterns of the bark can be compelling….

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On the western side of the valley there is an extensive Roman Necropolis with many small chambers (now empty).

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Panagia Chapel.

Here we are now at Panagia Chapel, that we saw on the first image of this post and the last image of the previous one.  It is also a 14th century chapel  but incorporates some ancient Greek marble.

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The view inside.

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Ruined buildings near the chapel.

The holes may be for beams of the floor, cast out of alignment by an earthquake.

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An ancient olive tree, now barely surviving.

In the next post we return to Sougia and also check out the archaeological site of Syia.

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Sougia to Lissos

Sougia to Lissos, Crete, Greece, 17 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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This post covers a walk from the village of Sougia, on the south west coast of Crete, to the site of the ancient Roman town of Lissos in a neighbouring valley, taking about 90 minutes.

There’s been a gap in posts while I have been in Far North Queensland.  I will finish posting on Crete with seven to nine posts on Western Crete, plus a few mono posts of Crete.  There will also be a live music post in the middle of those.  The rest of that trip (to Andalusia, Barcelona, Oregon and Washington) will then have to wait while I cover the trip to Far North Queensland.  

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Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Lissos, Nature, Photography, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

This is from the western end of the beach at Sougia.  If you click for a larger image, you will be able to see the umbrellas at the far end of the beach.

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There is also a World War II gun emplacement and a rusted anchor.

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A small church set back from the beach.

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The tiny harbour of Sougia.  There must have been a harbour here for thousands of years.

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Another miniature roadside shrine.  This one has a photograph of the person it is dedicated to.  In view of the location he was likely lost at sea.

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We have now started on the walk to Lissos.

Here is an abridged description of the walk from the site sougia.info:

“The walk starts at the harbour of Sougia. Whilst passing there, note the ancient water line which is clearly visible in the cliff, about 7 meters above the present sea level. This sudden elevation happened about 1500 years ago in western Crete.”  (Note: you can see that waterline behind the harbour in the earlier image.)

“At the entrance of the small gorge, a fence must be opened (& closed afterwards) and after clambering over a smooth rock you get on the path leading to Lissos.  After following the path in the shade of pine trees for about half an hour you will pass an impressive smooth cliff overhanging the trail. Ten minutes later the path veers off to the left and starts climbing up the hill. The good path up the hills then leads through old pine trees to a treeless plateau with good views all around. After ten more minutes walking straight towards the West you arrive at a steep drop with beautiful views of Lissos. Lissos is like a bowl of vegetation fields and terraces leading to the sea.”

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Crete, Greece, History, Landscape, Lissos, Nature, Photography, Sougia, Street photography, Travel

Some of the trees grow in unlikely places.

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(Most of the images in this post require no description).

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This is not a wild goat.  He has a collar.

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We are now overlooking the mouth of the valley where Lissos is.  Perhaps you may need to click on the image for a larger view but Panagaia Chapel is in the middle near the sea and a small boat is behind it, offering a passenger service.  We discover we may not need to walk back.  The chapel is made using materials recycled from the ancient Roman town and has several carved marble blocks in its walls.

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North Queensland Itinerary 2022

8 to 29 July 2022.

(Click maps for a larger size if they are too small to see).
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Jools and I are flying north to North Queensland tomorrow for three weeks. You would think this would be quite a change from the currently cold climate of Canberra and for the most part it will be, though in these times of unusual weather, Laura looks like being much the same as Canberra.  We attempted this journey in 2021 but had to bail out when we got caught in a COVID lockdown in Brisbane for a week and the ACT Government advised all travellers to return.

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In 2021 we flew north to Brisbane to stay with friends for a few days and had intended to fly on to Cairns (as shown above).  This time, we fly straight to Cairns and back.  The itinerary up there is very similar but we are taking more time this time and there are a couple of additions.

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From Cairns, we drive south to the Atherton Tablelands, staying in a small village and then in rainforest near Lake Eacham and Craters Lakes National Park.  We expect to visit Cathedral Fig Tree, Lakes Eacham and Barrine, Yungaburra, Curtain Fig National Park, Atherton, Hasties Swamp National Park (bird hide), Herberton, Mt Hypipamee National Park, Ravenshoe, Tully Gorge Lookout and Millaa Millaa waterfalls.  We also expect to visit the Art Deco town of Innisfail and various waterfalls and nature sites along the way.  This is not shown on the map which I haven’t updated it since last time but it’s a loop down to the coast, starting from Millaa Millaa and meeting up with the road from Cairns to Atherton where it goes inland.  You can see it if you click the map for a larger view. 

Wildlife we hope to encounter includes striped possums, platypodes (the correct plural of platypus since the word derives from Greek not Latin) and tree kangaroos.  Tree kangaroos may be elusive though.

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We then drive to Laura where we stay overnight and join a camping excursion for Aboriginal rock art over three days and two nights.  We next drive to Cooktown where we stay for several days and join another Aboriginal rock art tour on the last morning.

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After Cooktown, we drive to Mossman Gorge where we stay for two nights.  Next is an early morning wildlife cruise on the Daintree River, then we head to Daintree National Park, where we stay for a few days at Cape Tribulation.  The rainforest here comes down to the sea and we may encounter a cassowary. 

Next we drive down to Kuranda, in the hills near Cairns and stay overnight.  The next day we drive back down the hill then take a cablecar back up to Kuranda and come down again in a small train.  Then we have a day or two in Cairns including a day trip to Fitzroy Island (where I visited in 1987 taking pictures of lighthouses).  Finally we catch our plane back to Canberra.

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I am planning to take both just Fuji photographic equipment.  In the abandoned trip in 2021 I also had Nikon for long telephoto and wildlife.  The penalty for that change is that the autofocus of my cameras will not be nearly as good for birds in flight (a new Fuji camera is, but It’s not available yet) and I will not have as much capacity to compose loosely and crop down (eg for wildlife which may move unpredictably).  The advantage is about 3 kilos less weight and a long lens easier to hand hold.

I will have Fuji X-T2, X-E4 and X-T2 IR cameras, together with 4mm f2.8 fisheye, 8-16mm f2.8, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f2, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 80mm f2.8 macro, 70-300mm f4-5.6 and 200mm f2 lenses and a 1.4x TC.  My photographic pack will be about 11 kg which is fine.  Jools will  have an X-E4 and a 18-135mm lens and will be able to borrow the 70-300mm when I am using the  200mm for wildlife.

There’s a complication with selecting lenses for infrared because some produce a “hot spot” or bright flared area in the centre of the image.  So I could have taken the 27mm instead of the 23mm and 35mm but it’s not good for infrared.  The 8-16mm is only good for infrared at f2.8 so I took the 14mm as well, the 80mm macro is no good for infrared and the 200mm is only good at f4 and below but I have the 70-300mm. 

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I may find time for some temporary posts while travelling and will in time include below links for all posts I make from this trip.  In the meanwhile I have one more post to release from Crete and will resume posts from that trip later. 

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Here are links to the Brisbane posts from the 2021 trip:

Brisbane posts:

Links to North Queensland 2022 posts to appear here….

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Introduction to Infrared Photography

1982 to 2022, various locations.

Links go to original posts.  These are likely to be IR or Mono posts with little detail but there may be detailed information in a preceding normal-colour post.  (Some images have no corresponding posts, so no link).

Click on any image to see it larger (If you are on a PC at least).

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I’ve just finished posting on Istanbul/ Constantinople and next I will post on the Acropolis in Athens.  First, this post.

I have upgraded my IR camera and am selling the old one so one purpose of this post is to provide information to a buyer who may not well understand IR photography.  The IR explanation may be of general interest to photographers and others may just be interested in the images (there’s lots of text but also lots of images further down).

In ancient days of yore, decades ago, we had both colour and black & white infrared film.  Colour infrared film seems all but unavailable now whereas there are a few avenues for B&W IR film.

Normal photographic colour film has layers of red, green and blue.  Infrared light comes in below the red frequencies and ultraviolet is above blue, though ultraviolet is not relevant here.  Infrared colour film had layers of infrared, red and green, and missed out the blue.  Since infrared light is not visible, arbitrary colours were associated to the layers, so it was also called false-colour film.  You could also change the colour combinations by putting colour filters on the end of the lens.  This didn’t just add a colour caste but changed all the colours (since the infrared is invisible) and stacking filters changed all the colors in strange and mysterious ways.

Black and white infrared film was simply much more sensitive to infrared light.  It was also very sensitive to visible light and had to be loaded and unloaded from the camera in total darkness.   It was often grainy and could have an ethereal effect.

I never shot black & white infrared so I can’t show you any images of that but I did shoot colour IR.  I must have quite a few processed colour IR rolls in my film drawers but I’ve scanned hardy any of them but I can show you one example.

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Aboriginal Performance, Canberra, 1982.

This is a curious example.  I was shooting an Aboriginal performance when I ran out of regular fim so I continued with infrared.  Then, after I sent it to the lab to be processed, it came back with Sabattier Effect.  They must have left the inspection port open in the processing machine so that created a partial reversal of the shadows – resulting in a negative audience.  I had tried this myself several times but never got it to work as well as that.

Of course we now live in a digital age and we can take infrared images with digital cameras.  This is not entirely equivalent to colour IR film – you would actually need to combine digital regular and IR images for that, but it offers lots of scope for artistic effects and experiments and can also work particularly well for monochromes.

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St Kilda, 2013.

The cheapest way to take a digital IR image is to attach an R72 (or similar) filter to your cameras lens.  (This works for most cameras but some have too strong an infrared-blocking filter.)  This is how I took the above image and the next two.

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Jarlshof, Shetland, 2013.

The problem with using an R72 filter is that it is almost opaque so you need to use a tripod (or extremely high ISO) and if you’re using a DSLR, you will need to have the filter off to focus and compose.  A converted camera you can use hand held, just like a normal camera.

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Manvar Desert Camp, Rajastan, India, 2014.

This image is to some extent reminiscent of IR b&w film which could have heavy grain but it does not include the characteristic ethereal blurring of highlights.  I could have tried to replicate that with the Orton Effect in Photoshop but I have no interest in copying appearances from another era without a good reason.

Much more convenient than an R72 filter is an IR camera but it is more expensive as you have to send a camera off to get converted.   Mirrorless cameras are more suitable than DSLRs (unless you just plan to use live view) because focusing has a separate sensor to taking the image and they may get out of synch.

Most people use a custom camera white balance, usually taken off foliage.  Otherwise your captured image will start off different shades of a single colour.  There can also be different kinds of conversions.  A 720nm conversion gives you an image suitable for black and white with very little processing (perhaps even none, out of the camera).  A conversion with a lower number such as 560nm or 590nm has more colour in the image and is suitable for either colour or B&W IR but requires processing.

Not all lenses are suitable for infrared photography.  Many perform flawlessly but many have “hot spots”, a circle of diffusion and flare in the centre of the image.   Some lenses are also OK at wider apertures but have hot spots when stopped down.  There are a few guides to this online such as this one from Kolari or this one from Life Pixel, but you can also easily test your lenses yourself (with either an IR camera or R72 filter).

Processing is an important part of creating infrared images, though most people seem to take a relatively minimalist approach.  So while I have generally taken a complex approach to processing using Lightroom and Photoshop, I decided to see what I might get with relatively quick processing just in Lightroom.

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This is what you see in your camera without a custom profile or as the RAW file in Lightroom without any processing.

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This is the change from applying a custom Lightroom profile made using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor, as described here, then making a few minor changes to Temperature and Tint.  This is useful because Lightroom and Camera RAW by default give you a constricted colour range to play with for infrared images.  It is not necessary for Capture One.  This is similar to what you see in your camera with a custom profile there.  (Actually I did not do this in processing this image but clicked the White Balance Selector on foliage instead.  For this image, it provided a similar result.)

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Beijing Garden, Canberra, 2022.

I created this just using Lightroom. 

Apart from the custom white balance, I adjusted some hues in HSL, I played with some settings in Calibration, I optimised individual colour channels in curves, and I made some adjustments to shadows with colour grading.  I’m not suggesting a recipe; I made some adjustments I thought appropriate at the time and I might do completely different things with a different image or at a different time.

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This is the result of a quick B&W conversion in Lightroom.  I usually do my conversions in CaptureOne and Photoshop is also powerful, though may be more complex.

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Beijing Garden, Canberra, 2022.

This is another one from the same place on the next day.  We’ll get to Photoshop soon and one of the things you do in Photoshop with infrared images is swapping channels.  There’s a way to get a profile in Lightroom that does this so I was able to incorporate a red/blue channel swap in this image.  Such a profile is complex to set up, though you can read of this process or purchase swap profiles here.

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Ducks and Ducklings, Mt Ainslie, 2021.

This is an image from out the back of where I live, during a COVID lockdown.  Processed entirely in Lightroom except for neutralising the colour of the water at the bottom in Photoshop, because even with recent Lightroom improvements, masking in Photoshop is much better (Capture One was also possible).

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Carillon in early Spring, Canberra, 2021.

I recently tried processing infrared images in Capture One (which I have been also using for three years now).  It has very powerful capabilities for adjusting colours and masking, and has layers.  It’s better than Lightroom in many ways though channel swapping is not offered and Photoshop is more powerful for this purpose but can be much more complex.  (However, channel swapping is possible.  You can select, say, a blue 120 degree third, make the maximum -30 degrees hue shift four times, do the same for red (except +30) and save as a preset.)

The above image and the next two are processed in Capture One.

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Bushland on Mount Ainslie, 2021.

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Kangaroo on Mount Ainslie, 2021.

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Kangaroos on Mount Ainslie, 2014.

This was one of the first images I took with my old IR camera.  All the following images are from that camera and also half the preceding ones.  The image you end up with is more important than the camera you take it with.

All images from the one above down were primarily processed in Photoshop.

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Grand Canyon by Helicopter (IR), 2014.

Infrared is good for aerial images because it cuts through the haze, even before any processing.

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Zion Canyon (Mono) (image is actually near Zion Canyon), 2014.

Infrared can also be good for monochrome.  This was processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro but in the last couple of years I have gone to using Capture One.

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Louisiana Bayou Monochromes, 2014.

IR can facilitate deep blacks and high drama in mono.

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Louisiana Bayou Monochromes, 2014.

Photographing people can be interesting in infrared.  Easier perhaps in mono; colour image can require delicate tweaking.

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Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, 2015.

All of these later images were mainly processed in Photoshop, but what you can do there depends on what you start with.  It’s advantageous to process the images first in Lightroom (or ACR) and you can do this in a number of different ways which each led to a different set of possibilities in Photoshop.

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Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast from Above (IR), 2015.

Though some people always process their images the same way, for me there is no set way of doing this, in Photoshop, or in Lightroom or Capture One.  It seems as though each time I process an image I think of a new way to do it..

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Taxi! Taxi!, 2015.

So I’m not providing any recipes because I don’t believe in them and don’t use them.  The key is to look at the essence of each image and creatively explore its potential.

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Kipahulu/ Haleakala National Park, 2015.

In Photoshop, the first thing to do is often channel swapping, usually red and blue channels.  But there are lots of things you can do with channel swapping and you can also combine different effects with layers and masks.

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Kipahulu/ Haleakala National Park, 2015.

Then I may use a Hue/ Saturation layer to adjust or change individual colours.

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Oonartra Creek IR, 2015.

I may use a Black and White adjustment layer in luminosity mode to intensify individual colours.

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Dream Lemurs, 2015.

I may make some tweaks with a Selective colour layer.

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Ocean Harbour Dreaming, 2015.

I may also make a range of adjustments using luminosity masks (for which I use TK Actions though there are other alternatives that may be less complex).

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Ocean Harbour Dreaming, 2015.

Of course, you don’t need to use the most complex method possible.  Simple methods are fine if they work for you (and complex methods may not).  I do think it’s important though to always be experimenting and learning….

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Cazneau Tree, Brachina Gorge and Edowie ruins (IR), 2016.

There is potential technical complexity in processing infrared images but it will not work if it becomes just a technical exercise.  It’s the image that you create that is important, not the process you used to create it.  Whether you spend a lot of time doing complex things is ultimately irrelevant, the objective is simply to create Great Art.

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Flinders Ranges Monos 3 IR, 2016.

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Cazneau Tree, Brachina Gorge and Edowie ruins (IR), 2016.

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Parachilna Ruins (IR), 2016.

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Return to Adelaide (IR), 2016.

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Yaxha and Topoxté (IR), 2016.

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Tikal Monochromes, 2016.

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Salton Sea (IR), 2016.

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Salton Sea Monochromes, 2016.

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Sculpture Garden, NGA, 2016.

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KL to KK (Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu), 2019.

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Mount Tamborine, 2021.

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Ashoka (he’s actually a red Burmese), 2021.

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I have deliberately refrained from giving detailed methodology and screen shots partly because the article would get too long but more because I think it’s counter-productive.  There is no correct way of doing this and your own individual approach is for you to discover.

I will however, supply a couple of links for further reading.  You can find more with web searches:

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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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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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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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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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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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There were also some ducklings in the park.

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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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Locked Down in Canberra (Macro Landscapes in the Rain)

4 September to 5 October 2021, Canberra, ACT

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Small worlds in rain.

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(Acacia in bloom).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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On the back path by the fence again.

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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.

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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.