QUOTE – Life

It’s like driving a car at night. 

You never see further than your headlights,

but you can make the whole trip that way.

 Doctorow, 1931 – 2015, American novelist

Note:  The series of images below were made travelling home in a bus from South Melbourne.   As I was sitting in the front seat I made random shots along the way on a very dark night and, at a guess, I would say I had the Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ on the Intelligent Auto setting as it takes great dusk and sunset images and I thought it had the best chance of capturing something.

In fact, capturing anything at all (was my aim).

I ended up with the camera automatically going up to a very high ISO and heaps of noise (or graininess) in the images.

I also ended up with many blurred images when the bus hit a bump in the road.  By the time I arrived home, I’d learned how many bumps and ‘potholes’ there actually were in some urban roads around Melbourne   😀

I’ve never shared them before as I thought ‘the noise’ reduced the quality and they were just not good enough (to share), but now, as I review them in June 2021, I love them for the moodiness they convey – almost looking like paintings, rather than photos.

 

In the image below, the bus had stopped at a red light and I managed to get a sharper focus on the shop window (with the trees and setting sun reflecting on the bus door window).

 

The images below were made as I left the centre of Melbourn’s CBD (central business district) and passed closer to Port Melbourne, eventually crossing the Maribyrnong River into the inner western suburbs and my home location.

While all of us amateur (and professional?) photographers like sharply focused images, perhaps soft focus is just as good in storytelling.

Life isn’t perfect and we all have our problems and unique stories to share.

QUOTE – SILENCE

We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.

 
 Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

…….and one of my favourite images from St Kilda beach/Boat Marina/Esplanade (below).   I’ve actually got better images in my photo library to illustrate this quote, but the image below always begs for public viewing whenever I scan my archives.   I don’t know exactly why it’s a favourite image, it just is.

 

……and a few more images around St Kilda made on the same day.

ST KILDA YACHT CLUB (with a new apartment block being constructed in the background).
CANTANI MEMORIAL CLOCK TOWER, ST KILDA

March 2, 2021.   St Kilda finally has a ‘village bell’ ringing out, more than 80 years after the distinctive Catani Memorial Clock Tower appeared on the foreshore.

The digital chimes, turned on by Port Phillip Council today, replicate the solemn tones of a classic clock tower bell. In a further nod to the past, the chimes were installed by the same company responsible for activating the clock face and mechanism in 1932.

Following extensive community consultation with nearby residents and traders, the chimes will sound on the hour from 8 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 10 pm on weekends.  Carlo Catani, who died in 1918, set the design principles for the St Kilda foreshore to be a cosmopolitan Mediterranean-style entertainment and promenading park scape.

His vision included a prominent public clock tower as the centrepiece, and a tower was delivered posthumously after a design competition in 1930 – but without a bell.

Digital chimes have many advantages, including easy to control sound and directional settings.

Mayor Louise Crawford said the chimes provide a moment of stillness and a sense of community as residents and visitors go about their daily life.

“This project represents a great combination of the old and the new, fully in keeping with St Kilda’s reputation as a unique destination. The chimes will able to be heard nearby on Victoria’s most popular beach,” Cr Crawford said.

walking back to shore down ST KILDA PIER.   I’ve walked about 2/3rds of the way back to shore in this scene.
The beach and St Kilda Yacht Club boat slipway with the city of Melbourne in the background.

ext to ST KILDA PIER (with the city of Melbourne in the background)

At the St Kilda Sea Baths you can experience the pleasure of bathing in water that has been derived directly from the sea and heated to a soothing temperature.
The facilities at the St Kilda Sea Baths include a heated 25 metre seawater pool, hydrotherapy spa pool, unisex aromatherapy steam room and a lounge area offering magnificent views of the bay.
The seawater pool will help stimulate your senses and relax your mind. The buoyancy and healing properties of the natural seawater will go to work to help relieve muscle soreness, injuries and skin aliments, as well as restoring your energy and wellbeing.
Take a relaxing swim, participate in a water aerobics class, de-stress in the steam room or float in the hydrotherapy spa. The St Kilda Sea Baths has something to offer everyone.

When I lived on the southeast side of Melbourne pre-April 2015, this beach and pier were some of my regular photography locations.   I must have hundreds of images taken over 2010-2015.

A great location to practice landscapes, seascapes and of course, just sitting/relaxing and people watching.  Oh, and the hot Fish n Chips from the iconic kiosk at the end of the pier were among the best I have eaten, as were the ‘boxed’ meal from the nearby cafe/restaurant (on the shore next to the esplanade).

……a little more information about St Kilda from Wikipaedia follows for those interested.   I have unashamedly cut & paste straight from the internet to save time/energy.

  • St Kilda is an inner seaside suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 km south-east of the city’s Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Port Phillip. At the 2016 Census, St Kilda had a population of 20,230.
  • St Kilda was named by Charles La Trobe, then superintendent of the Port Phillip District, after a schooner, Lady of St Kilda, which moored at the main beach for much of 1841.[2] Later in the Victorian era, St Kilda became a favoured suburb of Melbourne’s elite, and many palatial mansions and grand terraces were constructed along its hills and waterfront. After the turn of the century, the St Kilda foreshore became Melbourne’s favoured playground, with electric tram lines linking the suburbs to the seaside amusement rides, ballrooms, cinemas and cafes, and crowds flocked to St Kilda Beach. Many of the mansions and grand terraces became guest houses, and gardens were filled in with apartment buildings, making St Kilda the most densely populated suburb in Melbourne.
  • After World War II, St Kilda became Melbourne’s red-light district, and the guest houses became low-cost rooming houses. By the late 1960s, St Kilda had developed a culture of bohemianism, attracting prominent artists and musicians, including those in the punk[3] and LGBT subcultures.[4] While some of these groups still maintain a presence in St Kilda, since the 2000s the district has experienced rapid gentrification, pushing many lower socio-economic groups out to other areas,[5][6][7] with the suburb again being sought after by the wealthy.
  • St Kilda is home to many of Melbourne’s visitor attractions including Luna Park, St Kilda Pier, the Palais Theatre and the Esplanade Hotel. It hosts many of Melbourne’s big events and festivals.

QUOTE – LIFE

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
PURPLE SWAMPHEN
A GOOD ‘LIGHT’ DAY ON THE SIDE OF THE POND NEAREST THE ROAD AND BUS STOP.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS
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)

SILVER GULL

KHAKI CAMPBELL DUCKS
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)

QUOTE – LIFE

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock,
perhaps a hundred times without as much
as a crack showing in it.
Yet at the hundred-and-first blow
it will split in two, and I know
it was not the last blow that did it,
but all that had gone before.
 

Jacob A. Riis

(Note: I knew if I kept this image long enough I’d find a use for it).