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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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.

Lockdown is for the Birds

Brisbane, Queensland, 1 to 6 August 2021.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.).
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 Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Butcher Bird.

At the end of the last post, we had stopped off in Brisbane for a couple of days en route to a photographic tour in North Queensland, when our progress was arrested by a sudden seven-day lockdown.  So we spent the next seven days with our friends Jim and Milena in their new home, and with the birds that either visited or lived there.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

The same Butcher Bird from the verandah (also then next two images).

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. Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife .

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Back inside, with Percy and Polly (Rainbow Lorikeets) and Milena.  One of the lorikeets is interested in learning how to use the coffee machine.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

The other, not so much.

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On the verandah again, two Kookaburras.

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Juvenile Magpie soaring up for food.  this one has a damaged foot.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Juvenile Magpie on the rail (the adults are black rather than grey).

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

The Australian Magpie is not related to the Eurasian Magpie.  It is related to the Butcherbird, though.

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Kookaburra.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Though we were in a city, we were able to go for a brief walk in a forest nearby.

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Inside with the lorikeets again.

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 Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

They are very fast inside the house and challenging to photograph.

Ironically, I had brought a Nikon D850 and 300mm f2.8 lens (plus teleconverters), specifically for photographing birds in flight, mainly from various bird hides I expected to encounter.  I did not anticipate the my BIF photography would be indoors.

These indoor images were all taken with a Fujifilm X-E4 and a 27mm f2.8 lens (40mm full frame equivalent), heavily croppped.  I couldn’t predict when and where they were going to fly I needed loose compositions.  They are all on 1/2,000 sec because the lorikeets are very quick and light levels were quite low so they are all on high ISOs, more that two thirds on 6400 or 12,800.  As well as that, this was a new camera and when I had set up Custom Quick Menus, I hadn’t realised that as well as the values on the Quick Menus, there were also many other values I needed to set or they would revert to the original camera defaults.  This meant I was shooting JPEG instead of RAW so many of the images are lacking highlight or shadow detail.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

This might represent an interesting lorikeet decal on the splashback except that it was a bit too transient for full appreciation at the time.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Lorikeet and Jools.

. Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Percy and Polly powering past.

. Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Also a Budgie, even more elusive on the wing.

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… and here playing hide-and-seek.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

Back on the balcony, an adult Magpie in midair leaping for food, plus a Butcher Bird.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife

  … Coming in to land ….

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Magpie pair.

.  Australia, Brisbane, Butcher Bird, Kookaburras, Landscape, Magpie, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Rainbow Lorikeets, Travel, Wildlife .

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Again, a lorikeet as an interior decoration….

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Jim with Percy and Polly.

It was difficult to find lockdown information at this time as the Queensland Government told people not to ring them and if you did, you could wait for a long time and then drop out.  Eventually, we worked out that we were free to fly back to the ACT, even while the lockdown continued in Brisbane.  Jools did so first, I did so after receiving an email from the ACT Government advising against further travel. 

Now Queensland is out of lockdown and we are in lockdown in Canberra.  The main problem is New South Wales, which failed to lockdown for ten days after their first case and is now spiralling out of control with over a thousand cases per day.  (That won’t sound high if you live in Montenegro, Malaysia or Miami but is the highest we have seen in Australasia).  (The other problem is the low vaccination rate, due to the incompetence of the Federal Government).  Fortunately it doesn’t seem too bad in the ACT and we may be out of lockdown in a couple of weeks, though the situation remains precarious.

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At the water’s edge

Brisbane, Queensland, 31 July 2021.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.).
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We are on our second day in Brisbane, staying with friends, en route to Northern Queensland, or so we thought.

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Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

Though inside Brisbane, we are on a scenic drive that goes in part through a national park, and we are looking down some distance at a house on farmland.  It appears to be the mansion of a drug baron.  Perhaps a nineteenth century drug baron.  Probably opium, in that case.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

Near the road, we noticed this compact granny flat.  Specially adapted for natural air conditioning.

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And in the distance there are these massive ancient megaliths.  Some of them may be more than a hundred feet high.  How they carried the stones there is a mystery.

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It’s not fire season yet so this was presumably burning off.  These days severe bush fires can occur even in winter though.

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We proceeded on to Wynnum, where we visited a cafe and then wandered out onto the pier.  Beside the pier, this I believe is a gazebo martin (though usually known as a tree martin).  I tried to get them in flight as a test of camera settings for that purpose but they are very fast and I did not succeed.

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Wynnum pier.  The martins were building a nest in the roof of the right-hand gazebo.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

Next we visited the nearby East Coast Marina and I photographed some of the yachts sailing around and in or out of the marina, from the end of a pier.

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Also, a couple of dragon boats.  Going out…

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…then coming back in.

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Small yacht returning to the marina.

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Two launches and a yacht coming out.

The red sign at the left is not blank on purpose for the benefit of people who cannot read, rather it is a marker for the dredged channel.  The water can be otherwise quite shallow around here.

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A launch and a windsurfer exploring the possibility of flight.

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I think the same windsurfer.

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A small flotilla of launches coming in on the channel. 

You can see the channel marker in the mid background (in itself an indication the water is not as deep as it may seem).

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There was a parasurfer there as well.

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We are now around behind the marina and a paddle-boarder is proceeding out.  He may not require as large a mooring as those catamarans.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

The boat at front in the middle is an old pearling lugger with a Maori name, which may indicate it was used by Maori divers.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

We are now a bit further south at Cleveland Point.  There are a number of cormorants on this tree.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

With a slightly different angle, I am now shooting into the sun.  It is still a colour image but the extreme contrast has wiped out the colour.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

This is the old Cleveland Point Lighthouse, no longer in use.  It has an unusual design and was built in 1865.  It is a State lighthouse for local navigation so was not amongst the Commonwealth lighthouses I photographed in 1987 (Lighthouses tab, at top of page).

Half an hour after I took this photo, Brisbane went into a sudden COVID lockdown for at least seven days.  We worked that out later when we drove past a pub that had no patrons.  No flight for us to North Queensland early morning the day after next.

Fortunately, we were able to stay with our friends for the duration.  The lockdown did end after seven days but then there was a North Queensland lockdown for another three days.  That also ended after the three days and I would have waited and kept on going but I received a letter from the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Government advising against further travel.  The problem was New South Wales where COVID was out of control by Australian standards because the NSW Government waited for 10 days before locking down.  Had I kept going I risked an ACT lockdown and either having difficulty returning or returning to 14-day hotel quarantine (as opposed to the much more benign home quarantine).

 

So after five days, I abandoned the North Queensland trip and returned to Canberra.

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Meanwhile, we stopped for the sunset at a beach a bit further south near Victoria Point.

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

… as the light slowly receded.

MacLeay Island in the background and South Stradbroke Island beyond that.

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An obliging pelican swam up and posed for me.

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The light was getting very low and although I was using a lens with good image stabilisation, that does not compensate for subject movement and I underestimated what shutter speed I needed so the pelican in this image is not actually in focus.  (I decided to show it anyway because of the feel and the colour).

. Australia, Brisbane, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Queensland, Reflections, Skywalk, Travel, Wildlife, Yachts

A last image in the gathering doom….

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Then when we got back home, I went to change lenses on my cameras for more compact storage and discovered I was missing a lens – actually the new lens from my recent post on Setting Up the X-E4.  It had fallen out of my bag.

Clearly it wouldn’t be there the next morning so notwithstanding the lockdown, I went back to try to find it.  I thought it had probably fallen out of the bag when I bent down to take a photo using a small post as support. 

When we got back to where we had been, I immediately saw it on the road where the car had been parked.  It had fallen out when I got the bag out of the car, about eighteen inches to two feet.  Fortunately I hadn’t run over it.  It was unmarked, had no apparent ill effects and still worked fine including autofocus.  (Phew!)

Mount Tamborine

Brisbane, Queensland, 30 July 2021.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.).
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Infrared, Landscape, Mount Tambourine, Nature, Photography, Rainforest, Skywalk, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Just before dawn, we headed off on our flight from Canberra to Brisbane, the first step of our journey to North Queensland.

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… though as it turned out, we would not get to North Queensland, rather turned back due to COVID lockdowns.

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We met up with our friends Jim and Milena, and later headed for Mount Tamborine.  This is a view looking inland over the plains.

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… and over farmland.

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The weather seems to have been changing considerably and is not quite how I remember it, though perhaps that is the infrared sensor and processing.

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We stopped at a cafe for lunch.

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And then we headed for the Mount Tamborine Skywalk, so the remaining images are from there.

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The bunga bunga pines are towering over the rest. 

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Infrared, Landscape, Mount Tambourine, Nature, Photography, Rainforest, Skywalk, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Eastern yellow robin (male).

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These two images looking straight down at some distance.

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North Queensland Itinerary

30 July to 15 August 2021.

(Click maps for a larger size if they are too small to see).
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Jools and I are planning to fly north to North Queensland for a couple of weeks. This would be quite a change from the currently cold climate of Canberra. 

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Current Queensland border closures.

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However, it all depends of COVID restrictions and border closures.  Australia is pretty much closed to the outside world so we can’t leave the country and there are also restrictions for internal travel.  Queensland currently has closed its borders to New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia but not the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).  New South Wales is experiencing an explosion of the COVID Delta variant (by Australian Standards at least, 172 new cases yesterday), whereas Canberra hasn’t had a locally spread case for over a year.  We just have to hope that the borders will stay open for us at least for the next three days until our planned departure date.

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We are intending to fly north to Brisbane, stay with friends for a few days, then fly to Cairns.

Edit:  We got to Brisbane and then were caught in a snap 7-day lockdown.  Towards the end of that, Jools had already gone back and I was contemplating going on despite a 3-day North Queensland lockdown when I received an email from the ACT Government warning against further travel.  So I came back as well.  I was concerned I might have to come back to hotel quarantine.  ACT is now in lockdown so we’re now in lockdown there.

Hopefully we’ll be able to do the trip at a later date, perhaps next year.

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From Cairns, we drive south to the Atherton Tablelands, staying in rainforest for several days 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.  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.

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We then drive to Laura where we stay overnight and join two tours of Aboriginal rock art the next day.  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 Daintree National Park, where we stay for a few days.  The rainforest here comes down to the sea and we may encounter a cassowary.  Then 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.  From there we drive to Mossman Gorge, stay near there overnight and explore the gorge the next day.  Then we drive to Daintree Village where we stay overnight.  Early the next morning we have a photographic tour on Daintree river, then drive down to Cairns airport to catch our plane back to Canberra.

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I am planning to take both Nikon and Fuji photographic equipment.

I will have a Nikon D850 and a 300mm f2.8 plus 1.4x and 2x teleconverters as my prime telephoto equipment for wildlife.

To reduce weight and also carry a larger range of equipment, I will also have a Fuji X-T2, X-E4 and X-E2 IR cameras, together with 4mm fisheye, 8mm fisheye, 8-16mm, 23mm, 27mm, 35mm, 56mm, 80mm macro and 70-300mm lenses and a 1.4x TC.  (I could perhaps leave the 23mm and 35mm behind but they’re fairly small and light.)  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 Nikon 300mm.

Next will be a technical post on setting up the new X-E4 but there may be no posts after that for two or three weeks.

Kesh, Sogdia, Timur and a Sufi

Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan, 2 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Walking past the twin domes of the mausolea at Dor-ut Tilovat.

Shakhrisabz is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, at more than 2,700 years old.  It was called Kesh and was one of the capital cities of Sogdia (or Sugd), and Kesh was the capital city of all Sogdia at some times.   Sogdia, though, was more a loose confederation of cities than a centralised state.  In terms of current borders, it was in Eastern Uzbekistan and Western Tajikistan, with some encroachment into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.   Other Sogdian Capitals were Buhkara, Afraysiab (now Samarkand, which we will visit next) and Khujand in Tajikistan.

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Walking towards Dor-us Siyodat.

Sogdia was independent during the first half of the first millennium BC until it was conquered by the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great around 540BC.  It was then independent again from about 400BC, when it freed itself from the weaker reign of Ataxerxes II.  This was at the time of the unsuccessful rebellion of his brother Cyrus the Younger, who died in a battle that he otherwise would have won.  Greek historian Xenophon, one of the leaders of the ten thousand Greeks that supported Cyrus, wrote Anabasis, an account of the battle and the subsequent story of the Greeks fighting their way back to Greece.  Egypt revolted at the same time and the last native dynasties retained independence for nearly 60 years (Persia had occupied Egypt since 525BC).  Ataxerxes was probably too busy unsuccessfully trying to retake Egypt, dealing with the later Satrap’s Revolt, and interfering in the conflicts of Greek city-states to focus on retaking Sogdia.

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Walking through the gardens, no doubt to an ancient plan but recently planted.  Gardens are always an essential part of Islamic public architecture.

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel .

Alexander the Great then conquered Sogdia in 327 BC.  At this time, the last Archmaenid Emperor, Darius III is said to have been murdered near Kesh, retreating to the edge of his empire after military defeat.   Alexander’s famous paramour Roxane was also a Sogdian princess.  Sogdia became part of a succession of various empires, including Selucid, Greco-Bactrian, Kushan, Hephalite and Sasanian.  It still retained its identity and culture. 

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The birth of Sogdia was also associated with the formation of the Zoroastrian religion but Sogdia came to be an area of religious tolerance, also allowing Buddhism, Manichaeism, Judaism and Nestorian Christianity until Islam slowly took over from the eighth century AD.

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Loquats.

The Sogdians were also great traders, travelling the Silk Road from China to Byzantium and becoming prosperous as a consequence.  In 128BC, in the declining days of the Greco-Bactrian Empire, the Chinese succeeding in pushing through to Sogdia and successfully besieged the capital Alexandria Eschate (Fergana Valley, present-day Uzbekistan). They were after larger more robust horses so they could successfully combat and defeat the Xiongnu Khanate, a massive Mongolian empire of the ancestors of the Huns. This helped to open up the Silk Road, including for Sogdian participation.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Eurasian magpie.

The Han dynasty did not remain in the area for long but in the first half of the eighth century AD, the Tang dynasty had expanded so it was bordering on Sogdia.  However in 751 they were defeated by the Abbasid Caliphate (Persian-based Moslems).  Then in 755 came the An Lushan Rebellion which ultimately failed but hugely weakened Tang China. There had been a significant Sogdian community in China for many years, including some in influential positions.  But because An Lushan was part Sogdian, a Sogdian identity became less politic and they blended into the general population.

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

A corner of Dor-us Siyodat.

While Sogdians were of Iranian origin, the Uzbeks are Turkic, so Sogdia gradually faded away after the Islamic takeover and the current inhabitants of Shakhrisabz are not Sogdian and do not speak a Sogdian language.  However, over the border in Tajikistan, Sogdians survive in the form of the Yaghnobi people in the Sugh Province, who also speak a language descended from Sogdian.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Khazret Imam Mosque on the right (a working mosque we did not visit).

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Dor-us Siyodat, or the mausoleum of Timur’s eldest son Jakhongir.

All the buildings we will see are from much later than Sogdian times.   Shakhrisabz was the birthplace of Timur the Great (Tamerlane).  He had magnificent building projects here and for a while considered making it his capital.  So the buildings are from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. 

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Looking up inside the mausoleum.

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This image and the next are probably details of the same door.

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This was to be Timur’s tomb.  He wanted something small and simple but his successors gave him instead the magnificence of Gur-Emir in Samarkand (coming up, in a while).  He was never interred in this sarcophagus.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

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Dor-us Siyodat was to be the burial place of Timur’s family.  Construction started in 1379 and two of his sons were buried here but most of the complex was destroyed by Bukharan ruler Abdullah Khan II in probably the 1570s and only Jakhongir’s mausoleum survived.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Here we see the nearby Dor-ut Tilovat ensemble which includes Kok-Gumbaz Mosque (the large dome), the Gumbazi-Sayidon Mausoleum (the two smaller domes) and a Madrassah.  The mosque and one mausoleum was built by his Timur’s grandson Ulugbek, the left hand mausoleum was built by Timur.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

We are now inside the mausoleum of Shamsidden Kulol.   He was a potter, philosopher, theologian and scholar and the founder of Sufism.  He was also the primary spiritual and intellectual influence on Timur.  This is Timur’s testimony to him and and its elegance is breathtaking.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

The tombs of both Shamseddin Kulol and Timur’s father Taraghay are underneath the mausoleum.

.Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

This is underneath the other cupola, built by Ulugbek for his descendants, though it is not clear whether any were ever buried here. 

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

This image and the next two are details painted on the interior walls of the mosque.

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These palm trees are the calling cards of the original Indian and Iranian designers..

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There is a large courtyard between the mausolea and the mosque.  We are looking across that courtyard, either to the madrassah or back to the mausolea.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Arches in a corridor inside the mosque.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

The three final images are inside the Kok-Gumbaz (Blue Dome) Mosque built between 1435 and 1436 by Ulugbek in honour of his father (and Timur’s son) Shah Rukh.

. Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

The recess in the white rectangle is the mihrab which indicates the quibla, or the direction to face in order to pray towards Mecca.  The minbar, or the imam’s pulpit, is just to the right of the mihrab.

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It was built on the foundations of an older mosque from the Karakhanid era (900 to 1200) and originally had a much larger dome.  That collapsed in the late eighteenth century and was rebuilt two hundred years later.  Judging by the apparent imperfections of the interior of the dome, they must have used original materials where possible.

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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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