Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”

 Mary Anne Radmacher

I was determined to do some outdoor photography yesterday.

What actually spurred me to take a camera to my medical appointment was the weather forecast of ‘light winds‘.   This usually means the water is still enough to capture reflections as seen in the image on the right (taken a couple of years ago).

The bus stop outside my local medical centre takes me right down to the Maribyrnong River, a large lake and a small area of murky pond with a reed-covered island in the centre and access to a number of local birdlife.

The Maribyrnong River flows (unseen in the above image) just behind the tall reeds halfway down the frame.

To the left of the image above is the large expanse of water between the river and the residential area on the western side of the river valley.  Once again poor light and I had to fiddle with some basic photo editing tools just to get this amount of detail below.

Must be 18 months since I visited the area – partly due to declining health and lack of physical ability to walk across uneven ground and of course we Melburnians stayed mostly at home during Melbourne’s 111-day lockdown and nightly curfew during 2020’s COVID.

I discovered yesterday that I can no longer see through the viewfinder (or LCD screen) since a new glasses prescription earlier in the year.   So while I could see shadows and light and managed to compose a relatively good composition below, I missed the fact that the photo is out of focus (except for the bush in the foreground) until I downloaded it at home.

They say there is no such thing as poor light in photography, but yesterday there was poor light!

What to do?

Is my 10-year photography hobby at an end?

Or, do I try again ‘tomorrow’?……………. (when there’s better light).

Ever the optimist, I think I’ll try again another day.

I only had my lightweight Sony A6000 with me which doesn’t really get between thick foliage for bird photography.   And with the lack of decent light, the Swamphen image was the best I could capture.   I spotted about 4-5 Purple Swamphens (Porphyrion porphyrio) in or around the pond and only one Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) madly swimming up the Maribyrnong River itself (out of focus so no image to share).

PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Yesterday, it was nearly 4.30pm when I caught the bus down the river valley and in hindsight, I should have known there would not be enough light and just gone home after my medical appointment.

At this current stage of late Autumn, the daylight turns to a short golden hour, dusk, and then, depending on your location, pitch-black (if you’re not near street lights).

There are some spectacular Golden Hours and Sunsets in Autumn around Melbourne and the bayside suburbs though.   I’ve captured many of them over the last 10 years.

But yesterday, I turned around to shoot straight into the dying sun (below).   I knew from experience it would be just a silhouette.

I quickly decided there was no point staying, so walked around the rest of the pond.   You can see the bus stop shelter a third of the way down the frame on the right-hand side of the image below.

You can also see there was not a single bird to be seen on this side of the pond, so even if I’d taken my Canon DSLR and Sigma 150-500mm heavy lens, I wouldn’t have made any bird photos.

I crossed the road to the bus stop going in the direction of home.

I didn’t have to wait long (and it can be up to 40 mins on this particular bus route if you’ve just missed one bus).   As it climbed the suburban streets across the river valley, I could see the remnants of a spectacular sunset out the bus window.

When I got off the bus, I took a shot of what was left between the houses (below).

As I walked down my steep short road towards home I managed to capture a little more sky colour across the enormous open field next to my apartment building.

So it’s back to the archives for some images for this blog.


The photos below were taken on a ‘good’ light day 2-3 years ago.

3 PURPLE SWAMPHENS totally ignoring me standing right next to them i.e. only 8-12″ away
juvenile GREY TEAL
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
not enough detail to see but I think it might be an AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE
MASKED LAPWING (with a Silver Gull in the rear)
GREAT EGRET (in the golden hour)


The other end of the lake (which is only 10 minutes walk from home)
Juvenile GREY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
POND IN MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS (always has some ducks except for yesterday)

27 thoughts on “QUOTE – LIFE

    1. I think yesterday afternoon was the worst light in my photos I’ve had in years, especially as I was using the Sony a6000 on Intelligent Auto. This Auto setting takes excellent sunsets and difficult strong contrasting lighting conditions. It automatically takes several shots and brackets them together to produce a balanced image.

      Actually, my Sony camera is making long whirring sounds switching on or off and I was wondering if it is broken or needs a service. I was going to take my 3 cameras and lenses into the city for a service about a month ago and discovered my camera store, Michaels, has closed down and gone to online only. That store has been there something like 105 years I think. I think I’ve lost a pixel on my Sigma 150-500mm lens too. There’s a tiny red dot on every image I take and I have to erase that tiny dot on every photo in editing.

      I will miss the ability to drop in and chat to my 3 favourite staff members who have always given me good advice and plenty of time when I wasn’t sure which lens to buy in the early days of my hobby.

      I actually know some good photo/camera repair shops but they’re all on the north-eastern side of the city – probably an expensive taxi ride there and back – twice – once to drop my cameras and lenses off and a couple of weeks later to pick them up. Times like this I wish I still had a car and could drive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know a camera repairman in Dubbo. He retired about 18 months ago, but he might be able to recommend someone close to you. What suburb are you in? As an aside, I had camera troubles in Fairbanks Alaska. The city’s info centre pointed me to a guy who was across the street from our hotel. Turns out he knew of my guy in Dubbo. Small world and a network of camera repair people.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I live in Maribyrnong in the western suburbs, Peggy. I haven’t had a chance to look up somewhere close to home to take my cameras & lenses for cleaning and service.
      COVID might have closed some places down or they reverted to online only. I prefer face to face contact myself, so I’ll need to find somewhere close.
      I noticed the small Ted’s Camera Store outlet in my local shopping centre is still open so maybe they might be an option.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Thanks, Peggy. It’s to the north-east of the city, not through the city so it would be doable taxi-wise and cost. I have medical appointments coming up which are north of the city, so might be able to tie 2 errands in with the one trip. It’s mainly my Sony camera which seems to be misbehaving.

      There is still lots of construction and building works going on in the city which were started during COVID last year, so I try to avoid those (and peak-hour) in a taxi ride. I got caught out with a $54 & an $80+ taxi once or twice, so try to stick to my local area if possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I already have a Taxi concession card (with 50%) off, Peggy. In COVID it as 75% off. Still doesn’t nessarily make long or peakhour trips cheap (as I discovered caught in peak hour traffic one night).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. So it’s grey up your way too, Tracy. It’s always reassuring to hear someone else had a ‘bad’ day shooting.

      I’m not good with the Sony a6000’s convoluted menu which doesn’t help. I can shoot with my Canon DSLRs on manual mode AND change the settings while the viewfinder is up against my eye.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It should have been an easy half-hour, Susan. I deliberately only took the lightweight Sony ‘mirrorless’ in my hand and my Mother’s old walking stick, instead of packing all cameras etc into my shopping trolley. I admit that a young walker (walking with his dog) had to assist me across the rough rocky causeway and my walking stick was not enough to keep me steady.

      Still haven’t recovered from the December hip replacement surgery and I’m getting another x-ray on Monday to take to the otho. surgeon the following week.

      In the meantime, it looks like flat asphalt walking paths and minimal time outdoors is still the order of the day. After 2 years, mostly indoors, you’d think I’d be used to it, but I still miss the long walks and fresh air in the Botanic Gardens and down the beach.


      1. Another lower back disc surgery and open-heart surgery are both on the agenda at the moment, Susan. I hope tomorrow’s hip Xray shows the artificial hip is still in it’s correct place. Sometimes I wonder how I inherited all the health problems from both sides of my family (as well as my own). But that can be a blessing just as much as bad luck.


  1. There most assuredly are bad light days, and there’s nothing to be done about them but try again. Sometimes, emphasizing the flatness or converting to black and white helps, but still: good light’s much to be preferred. On the other hand, I enjoyed your “worst” photo of the sharp foreground plant and the blurred background. I dont’ think that one looks as bad as you think!

    I thought I was in real trouble when a black speck starting showing up when I looked through the viewfinder. As it turns out, it doesn’t show on photos, so it’s on the focusing screen, and I don’t have to make the trip into Houston after all. Thank goodness! I have a great family-owned shop I’ve taken it to, but the hour drive into Houston in freeway traffic is ghastly. I don’t head to town unless I absolutely have to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more I thought about these images from Friday’s (very) short walk around the pond, the more I think my Sony a6000 is broken, Linda. Seriously. The long whirring sound as the camera takes ages to focus from turning the camera on……to the long whirring sound as it takes a minute or two to turn off, has been getting worse and worse in recent weeks.

      I did drop it on the floor (encased in its soft protective cover) a few weeks ago and it seemed to be OK. But the Intelligent Auto setting really does take brilliant photos in difficult light, sunrise or sunset or a dark wintery day and I can’t believe the Camera didn’t cope with the poor light on Friday.

      I guess the thing to do is next time take the Canon DSLR to the same location at that time of day when it’s very cloudy and see what the Canon DSLR does with that light.

      I actually like the composition of the ‘worst’ photo, but can’t believe the background was blurred using Auto on the camera.

      There is a small camera store (the competition with my old Michael’s Camera Store in the city) in my local shopping centre (mall), so I guess it’s time to check them out and see where they send camera service/repairs.

      I can appreciate your abhorrence of the drive into Houston. Now that most office workers are back working in the city (of Melbourne), the traffic has increased almost back to pre-covid days on all the arterial roads leading in/out of the city.


  2. I can see where the poor light and other limitations would be very frustrating, especially compared to what you’ve been able to enjoy in the past, but I hope you still got some enjoyment out of walking around the pond and shooting what you could. I actually like the last sunset photo with those high clouds very much – it has a wonderful atmosphere. It was fun to see so many birds that I know nothing about, too. Better luck next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I had a car and could drive, so many more locations would open up for me, but just at the moment, I have to be content with what I can reach and/or do/walk to i.e. not much.
      Lovely sunny day yesterday, Lynn, but by the time I had finished chores and got dressed the best of the afternoon had gone. The light (not night, just late afternoon) goes at around 4.30-5.00pm at the moment. In daylight savings time in summer, one can be outdoors up til about 8.30pm.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s similar to here – in summer it stays light quite late, even 9pm but boy, those dark months, it just gets dark way too early! And you’re heading into that time I guess – it’s always hard to imagine that difference between the hemispheres. Have a good week!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently, those Masked Lapwings are common, but I only have about 5 photos of them altogether and the one above is the best out of them. I don’t know where they live, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to my home location.

      Liked by 1 person

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