A quick look at the countryside

Tea

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Really, really pushed for time today, but here are a few shots from my trip to the Wimmera last week.

SF-wimmera10.jpg


SF-wimmera2.jpg


SF-wimmera4.jpg


SF-wimmera5.jpg


SF-wimmera6.jpg


SF-wimmera7.jpg


SF-wimmera8.jpg


SF-wimmera9.jpg


SF-wimmera11.jpg


SF-wimmera3.jpg


SF-wimmera12.jpg


SF-wimmera13.jpg


SF-wimmera14.jpg


SF-wimmera15.jpg


SF-wimmera16.jpg


SF-wimmera17.jpg


SF-wimmera1.jpg
 

Buck

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Great pictures Tea. Thanks for sharing. Nice action shot with wimmera13.jpg. I like the first picture, wimmera10.jpg, but wimmera14.jpg fits me better because there is no fence.
 

Handruin

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Very nice pictures! I like wimmera15.jpg...makes me want to know what's around the corner.
 

CityK

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What, no pics of Tea cleaning the parasites from the teeth of a Salty?
 

Tannin

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No saltys down here, CityK. Bit too cool for them. Besides, they like water. The Wimmera has practically no water. The water in the pictures of Tea's above is pretty much all the same thing, the Wimmera River, which is a bit of a strange one. In the natural state it is ephemeral, flows for maybe 4 months in the year, though it's a bit hard to say as it (like some of the rivers out Buck's way) starts off medium-sized and gets smaller as it goes along. It just dissapears into the sands.

In wet years, it flows further north. The 5th picture from the bottom is Lake Albacutya. In 1974 it was 30 feet deep in water, but that only happens about three times a century. It's one of a chain of lakes that fill, one by one, depending on the rainfall, then dry out again. In the right season, they can harbour a phenomenal number of waterbirds. Right now, Albacytua has been completely dry for 20 years and there are good-sized trees growing in the middle of the lake bed (not in shot - it's a huge lake that takes 15 minutes to drive across at 80 km/h).

The Wimmera River is heavily modified, however. It has been robbed of the runoff it used to get from the surrunding land by addition of gypsum to the soil, so local rain just soaks straight in. Now 2/3rds of its water comes via diversion from the upper Glenelg River (which flows south to the sea), and the Wimmera River is used to carry water through the district for irrigation purposes. This means that some parts never get any water to speak of (vast areas of dead River Red Gum forest neat Jeparit, for example), other parts further upstream have water at the wrong time of year - which kills things. Yet another environmental disaster we have inflicted on this poor old continent.

By the way, I love the one with the road. I needed longer to find the best way to frame it, but could only stop for a moment as we were travelling in convoy. Love those poles.

No-one would believe me when I said I'd had to stop to take a picture of ....

"A bird?"

Nope.

"A wildflower?"

Nope. A telephone pole.

"Huh? You mean it had a bird on it?"

Nope, just the pole.
 

CityK

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Thank you for the description Tony. What you wrote sounds very familar. Is this not a same area you have gone to before and perhaps dicussed in the forums?

Nope. A telephone pole.

"Huh? You mean it had a bird on it?"

Nope, just the pole.
I do note, however, that there does indeed appear to be 2 of Tea's feathery friends on the nearest pole.
 

mubs

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Gee, that Lake Albacutya seems m-a-s-s-i-v-e! I thought that was a large plain. If something that size has 30 feet of water, even if you can't see nuttin at the top, I suspect there's plenty underground.

Nice pics, Tea. Gives me the wanderlust to get out in the open, away from all this concrete. :cry:
 

jtr1962

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mubs said:
Nice pics, Tea. Gives me the wanderlust to get out in the open, away from all this concrete. :cry:
Same here, and that's saying a lot because I'm basically a city person. However, those areas look so remote, so alien, so completely mystifying that it almost makes me want to drop everything I'm doing and spend a few weeks in the outback. Not at all like the "country" around the Northeast, which is just basically flat suburban sprawl. I really love the one with the telephone pole and the old fence. It's just surreal, along with most of the others.
 

Tea

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Nope, not birds, CityK. See for yourself:

SF-wimmera15-crop.jpg


Or a little closer again:

SF-wimmera15-cropmore.jpg


(Just crops from the same image.)

We have spent time in the Wimmera before, of course, but I doubt that either of is have posted about it. If Tannin's words sound familiar, it will be because the general themes of stark beauty and senseless human destruction run through most of the Australian countryside. Only the specifics change. I imagine that you are thinking abou something one of us wrote about the Murray-Darling Basin, or the Golburn River, or most likely of all, the Macquarie Marshes and the Darling.
 

i

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Tannin, how the heck did you wind up working with dusty, boring computers? You should have been a professional photographer!
 

mubs

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Indeed, a photographer he is, just not a professional one (following occupation as paid job: engaged in an occupation as a paid job rather than as a hobby). I think his passion for nature outstrips his love of money 10000:1.
 

Tannin

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Good lord no! An average professional photographer spends 40% of the working week going to other people's weddings and/or product launches and/or car accidents, and 58% of the week buggerising around trying to find people wiling to give him money in exchange for pictures. Oh yes, and 2% of his time talking pictures of stuff that he likes taking pictures of.

Net "profit" for the week: 2%

I spend, on an average week, five days buggerising around building and mending and selling computers (which I rather enjoy, most of the time), and two days taking pictures of stuff that I like taking pictures of.

Net "profit" for the week: 28.5%

I know who I'd rather be.
 

Tea

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As for quality of the pictures, I was actually a little reluctant to post these, as I felt many of them were rather poor. I'm sure that there more serious photographers among us (Lunar Mist, E_dawg, Buck, and etc.) (if I can call good people "etceteras") would agree.

This was a trip with a purpose and a hectic schedule. We were surveying ecological vegetation classes in the district (doing formal vegetation assessments: species lists in particular locations, that sort of thing) and my role (as a rank beginner at this botany game) was to document the habitats - i.e., to take record shots of as many plant species and habitat types as possible. Clarity and typicality were the goals, not artistry, and time was very short. Mostly I just didn't have the time to try for really good shots. Good photography takes an incredibly long time to get right. Just ask Buck how long it takes him to get one of his flower shots just so. Also, this was my first time with a brand-new camera, and I'm only just getting an idea of how to use it. Also, there was only one clear day: all the others were grey and flat.

Let's look the pictures one by one:

SF-wimmera10.jpg


I like this one. It would never make a great shot, but it's well-framed and the light is nice (early morning can't be beat). It needs a better foreground, but there wasn't one to hand. Walk forward or zoom and then there isn't any foreground and the composition is unbalanced. A real photographer would have walked and driven around for a few hours to find a better spot, then waited till 7AM the next day to get the shot. Cropping a small slice off the bottom would improve it. Canon 20D.


SF-wimmera2.jpg


Nailed this one. Not entirely convinced that the framing is ideal, but I class it as a very good shot. Isopogon is wonderful stuff, one of my favourite plants. Coolpix 4500.

SF-wimmera4.jpg


Nice Sacred Kingfisher. This was my second-best shot of this bird,which for some reason I decided to post instead of the best one. Reasonably good, but I can do beter. Swarovski scope and Canon A95.

SF-wimmera5.jpg


The background needs to be further out of focus - i.e., a faster lens is required. Close, but no cigar. (I'll buy a proper macro lens for the 20D as soon as Tannin's credit card recovers a bit. Probably a TS-E 90mm, but I haven't decided for sure yet. ) Nikon CP4500, f/5.6.

SF-wimmera6.jpg


Wonderful old River Red Gum log on the edge of a dry swamp, I'm probably a bit too close to it though. I still like this shot, but it's not as good as I thought it was on first sight. Canon 20D.

SF-wimmera7.jpg


Same beautiful log. I like this one. Shame about the weather. 20D.

SF-wimmera8.jpg


Nailed it. One of the best shots of the wek. Nikon 4500.

SF-wimmera9.jpg


Not great, but a shot I'm happy with. Bit hard to go wrong with that beautiful old Yellow Gum. 20D.

SF-wimmera11.jpg


A little too far away from the birds for good results. Nice pose, nice sidelight, but I had to get closer. Scope & A95.

SF-wimmera3.jpg


Stunning flower, and a rare species (a Swainsonia sp) but the shot is very ho-hum. Wind was a problem (as it often is with flowers and similar) but I should have composed this better and done more with the background. Again, a proper macro lens will help. CP 4500.

SF-wimmera12.jpg


Nothing special. It's a river. It looks like a river. Fantastic camp site! (I slept between the river and the car - beautiful place to wake up. This is where I saw the Sacred Kingfisher, by the way.) 20D.


SF-wimmera13.jpg


The 5 times a second shutter repeat of the 20D makes this sort of thing ridiculously easy. Not bad, but I can do better. Will do better next time.

SF-wimmera14.jpg


Not bad. It's a lake bed. Loks like a lake bed. Needs post processing to remove fly and straighten horizon. (Note to the Canon design engineers: forget telling me my exposure in the viewfinder, give me a spirit level so I can get things bloody straight some of the time!) 20D.

SF-wimmera15.jpg


Really, really rushed for this one, as I had to stop, snap, and then drive like hell to catch the car in front before we got to the next corner and I woudn't know which way to go. I didn't think I'd framed it right at the time, and I was right. In fact, that first crop I did to show the "birds" is much better. Let's look at the crop again:

SF-wimmera15-crop.jpg


Yup. Heaps better. 20D.

SF-wimmera16.jpg


Habitat shots are quite difficult. In general, if it shows a representative sample of the habitat and the plants in it, aesthetically it's a complete mish-mash. This one is rather good. 20D.

SF-wimmera17.jpg


A small crop along the bottom would help. 20D.

SF-wimmera1.jpg
[/quote]

Very nice. Not quite as sharp as it should be because the lens doesn't focus quite as close as I was standing, I think. (OK, kneeling - it is about 18 ibches off the ground under a shrub.) But I like this one. 20D.
 

e_dawg

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Tea said:
As for quality of the pictures, I was actually a little reluctant to post these, as I felt many of them were rather poor. I'm sure that there more serious photographers among us (Lunar Mist, E_dawg, Buck, and etc.) (if I can call good people "etceteras") would agree.

Bah! These are excellent pics on the whole. I know how to get the exposure, focus, DoF, etc. correct, but I'm not much for the artistry either...

The most important thing anyways is being able to identify compelling, picture-worthy content and being able to capture it reasonably well. The rest of it (perfect composition, artistry, ideal exposure, tack-sharp images, etc.) is gravy. I would say you nailed what's important.
 

Mercutio

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In places, Oz doesn't look much different from Indiana. I guess farms and open fields look the same everywhere. That surprises me, as I was expecting everything to look more like wimmera-9 or wimmera-12, a kind of landscape I don't think I've seen anyplace I've been in the USA.
 

Buck

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I agree, they are very good pictures. Thank you for including me under the umbrella of being a serious photographer, but I'm not -- it's just a hobbie that I'm able to indulge in occassionally.

As you pointed out, flowers and wind don't mix -- very frustrating sometimes. As for your River Red Gum log, the reason that your expectations were not met is that the color contrast you saw in person did not manifest itself in the photograph. An overcast sky can be very good for this type of scenario, as it still allows for UV light to illuminate vibrant colors (such as in the grass), but prevents the bright visible light from casting unwanted shadows and overexposing your film. Under these conditions, use a tri-pod, reduce your shutter size and increase the exposure time. You'll be rewarded with some wonderful pictures if you play around with this method. Most of my flower images are taken when the sky is overcast. Usually, I look for an f stop that works well with a one second exposure time. Unfortunately, with my old Minolta, I don't know how the picture looks until I develop the film. Hence, I often take several pictures of the same object with different camera settings.
 

Gilbo

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The birds are gorgeous subjects Tannin, and I really like the composition of the 2nd last shot, the one with the river. It's my favourite I think. That old, overburdened tree (the eighth shot) is also really compelling.
 
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