WILLIAMSTOWN – Part 2 – JAWBONE BAY & CONSERVATION RESERVE

……..continuing from Part 1 in the previous post.

If you’ve read Part 1, you’ll remember that I walked right to the end of the Esplanade towards the west and thought I might fall into the sea as there seemed to be no fence or way forward……..unless I could walk on water I might add.

Then I saw the top half of a walker coming out from behind the rock retaining wall on my right.

Of course if I’d thought of taking my crumpled map out of my pocket, I would have seen that the esplanade turned at a right angle 🙂

Just around the corner, I was delighted to see a tiny boatyard with small fishing boats intermittently tied up between several board walks behind a chain wire fence.

I looked down in front of the chain wire fence, but could only see a channel of water with a few seaweed-covered rough boulders scattered here and there.

Having spent some time in the UK in the mid to late 1970s, I had a sudden mental picture of some of the picturesque fishing villages I’d visited on the southern coast and got kind of excited at the prospect of some fishing boat images right here in Williamstown.

One of the few sorrows of my current life, in early retirement, is not having a car to travel along some of my state’s spectacular coastline and possibly, the occasional quaint fishing town or boatyard to do some photography.  I’d been to one once when on a few days holiday with a friend and the boats and quay were restored as it might have been in the early days of the 19th century, no less.

Anyway, last Sunday, I walked slowly down the chain wire fence trying to see a way in, but the only entrance was through what looked like a ‘clubhouse’ or boat repair shed.

Obviously, PRIVATE PROPERTY – no through path.

So I followed the cycling/walking path round the corner and onwards past a small inlet.  According to a Google map this was Jawbone Bay & the start of the Marine Sanctuary and it looked like low tide on Sunday.

I was facing straight into the brilliant sunlight and most of the houses and low-lying coastal scrub was just a silhouette (so the above shot has had the shadows lightened to reveal some detail).

The tiny bay, (or inlet), was covered in sparkling stars from the reflected sun on the rippling water surface and really quite enchanting.  The wind had dropped a little and walking was really pleasant under the blue Spring skies with just a smattering of whispy cloud cover creeping in from the horizon.

I heard a weird sound and looked up to see 2 gyrocopters (?) with broad ballooning parachutes spread over them.

Then I looked across the low-lying scrubby salt-resistant landscape across patches of yellow Oxalis and some other yellow weed which I couldn’t identify.  It wasn’t Wild Radish, but something similar.

I walked down a narrow path towards the water.

Definitely low tide, but with cameras and other gear in a wheeled bag and what amounted to tennis shoes on my feet, (not my normal lace-up leather walking shoes), I couldn’t walk across any of the wet sand, or to peek in the shallows looking for crabs and other water creatures.

I’d deliberately brought my short 17-50 f2.8 lens and Canon DSLR in case I came across some rock pools.  I also had my Canon 50mm f1.4 lens which is the only remaining lens from my early Photography days some years ago which had the right-sized polarizing filter to photograph through water.  Now I’ve sold and traded a few lenses, I need to reassess the filters lying in their dust-free containers.

So I continued onwards stopping every now and then to admire the low-lying landscape and brilliant patches of green, yellow and other multicoloured low-lying plants.

I photographed a few other weeds, but the images weren’t particularly good so they got deleted.

I couldn’t help but be envious of the surrounding houses and their picturesque views over Port Phillip Bay.  If anyone had a glass-windowed loft and was high enough up with a ‘widows walk’ and/or telescope, they would be able to see all the shipping, leisure boats and yachts coming in and out of Port Phillip Bay.

Imagine living in the house below.

I am descended from the early Whaling Captains that plied their trade in the southern oceans and called Hobart, in the southern island state of Tasmania, home.  I can well imagine the wives watching and waiting in those early 1800s for all the months these whalers were at sea.  Some of my Ancestors ship’s instruments are in the Maritime Museum in Hobart, the capital of  Tasmania.

My Mother (now deceased), so my 91 year old Father now, has a copy of the original Whaling Captain’s diary in which my G/G/Grandfather’s brother ran away to sea at the age of 13 and worked his way up to the rank of Captain.  It’s a fascinating story and one day I’ll borrow it back and make another attempt to put the diary on computer.  My eyesight is poor even with prescription glasses.  I’m never really 100% sure whether my images have sharp focus when reviewing them on my 27″ computer monitor.  Don’t ask me how I take photos.  After some 80,000 images made over 7 years, I’ve just learned to guess, or compensate, with what I can’t see clearly through the viewfinder.

My G/G/Grandfather was hit on the head with a whaling spike and died in his fifties off New Zealand, so my G/Grandfather was brought up by the older brother who was a well-known whaling Captain.

Anyway, as I gazed up at this spectacular house with what appeared to be a third floor with 360 degree viewing windows in Williamstown, I immediately thought of my ancestors’ wives.

Waiting and looking out to sea each night for months on end.

Watching and waiting.

Waiting and watching.

Anyway, there were no spectacular seascapes to photograph on Sunday, but the stroll in the winding gravel path towards the Jawbone Arboretum entrance was thoroughly enjoyable all the same.

So all in all, it was a very enjoyable walk and the warm sun did its very best to break the effect of the brisk sea breeze that sent my jacket flapping and needled its way under my thin shirt.

Next visit, in warmer weather, will be to explore the Range Lakes system shown on the map at the top of this post………preferably with the long 150-500 telephoto lens to do some bird photography.

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WILLIAMSTOWN – Part 1

I’ve been a little busy for the last couple of days and only just got around to re-viewing last Sunday’s images of my walk/photography outing.  I’ve also been extremely fatigued, so a little slower off the mark than usual.

Despite the fatigue and higher-than-usual back pain, I finally decided on Williamstown  (near the Rifle Range Reserve and Jawbone Arboretum which I first visited on 20th August) for my walk.

Since the first visit via taxi (only about 25 mins via car from home), when I became enthusiastic about re-visiting the area, I had found a bus route (#472) which took me to the car park and shoreline between Williamstown beach and the Jawbone Arboretum.

For those locals interested…..  

Williamstown is roughly about 9 kms south-west of Melbourne and was first explored as a possible settlement in early Victoria in 1803 (about the same time as my current home location by the Maribyrnong River was explored).

So I was travelling from the top left of the map (below), where the blue river and lots of greenery reveal my home location next to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve) to the bottom left of the map where there is a tiny patch of blue sea.  Melbourne city is the grid of streets located in the centre of the map.

Melbourne, it’s suburbs and bayside beaches are actually very easy to get around via public transport and although I’ve never used the country buses and trains, I would imagine you can visit most places with a little research on routes and transport timetables.  I must admit that when I lived next to the Royal Botanic Gardens to the south-east of Melbourne City, it was much faster to get anywhere and I was a lot fitter for walking.

I left the long telephoto 150-500mm lens at home on Sunday as I knew I wouldn’t have the energy reserves on this particular day to hold the weight up for bird photography.  I thought there might have been some landscape or seascape photography potential, so initially put my tripod and 17-50mm lens in my wheeled bag, then after lifting the weight up (as though to put it on a bus), I decided to leave the tripod at home also.

Buses run infrequently on a Sunday (on this particular route) – once every hour. But I did fantasize about staying long enough to watch the sun go down, hence the tripod and remote release shutter cable idea for some slow dusk shutter speed shots, but recent walks revealed my current energy envelope is only about 2 hours slow walking, so I figured I’d by returning home well before dusk.

There is also a train to Williamstown, but not quite close enough to the beach and foreshore for my liking.  A healthy person could easily catch a train from Melbourne’s city centre and walk all the way along this coastal area.  Buses are my preferred mode of transport as I like to watch the scenery along  the way.

Last Sunday lived up to the BOM’s (Bureau of Meteorology) forecast and was really superb weather……ehrr…. except for the bitterly cold wind down on the shoreline.

Wish I’d worn a scarf and gloves.

There are almost no trees or shade along the esplanade, so I doubt if I would go in mid-summer without a sunhat with secures ties, lots of sun-block and most of my body covered as, being very fair, I get sun-burnt in as little as 10 minutes.

My neck via my open-necked shirt got a little wind-burnt last Sunday and my light jacket nowhere near warm enough for the chilly onshore wind on this glorious Spring day.

When I got off the bus and walked through the small carpark to the esplanade, the cold wind hit me like a thunderbolt and I decided to turn left (east) and find a kiosk or shop that sold hot Fish & Chips to warm up.

But I continued to walk along this particular area of asphalt esplanade and reached the end.  Fortunately, I saw a walker appear from behind the rocky retaining wall on my right and realised the path turned right and didn’t drop off to the water as first thought.

And the highlight of this first part of my walk……..hot Fish and Chips of course.

There was little to be seen that was photo worthy on this particular stretch.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

TOMORROW LOOKS PROMISING……….

Dare I get my hopes up that tomorrow will be a lovely day for Photography?

Will Melbourne’s weather forecast be right for a change?

Sunday 20 August

Summary
Min 4
Max 14
Partly cloudy.
Possible rainfall: 0 mm
Chance of any rain: 20%

Melbourne area

Partly cloudy. Areas of morning frost. Slight (20%) chance of a shower in the evening. Light winds.

 

Light winds is one of the descriptions I’m always looking for (in Photography).  Partly cloudy is far more interesting than a clear blue sky for Photography.

So where shall I go tomorrow?  (it feels like I’ve been pretty much indoors for the whole of Winter this year, partly the weather, but partly these #$@! severe headaches and neck pain – which are now permanent, but I’ve got plenty of prescription painkillers these days in the wake of all those MRIs I had.  They only show one new slipped disc in my neck, to match the 6 slipped discs in my lower back.  Methinks I may have to give up the heavy 150-500mm lens soon).

St Kilda Beach or Pier?

or somewhere local?

Newell’s Paddock Wetlands & Conservation Reserve?

Brighton Beach ?

It’s a long way off now that I’ve moved to the western suburbs, but actually only 2 buses, or a tram and a long bus trip?  But it’s Sunday tomorrow and the buses don’t run as often.

The Royal Botanic Gardens?

Queens Park, Moonee Ponds?  That’s only a tram ride to the end of the line and a 5 minute walk to the entrance.

Or shall I renew my Zoo Membership and go to the Great Aviary for some Bird Photography practice?  Despite lack of direct route via public transport, it IS only about 3-4 kms away as the crow flies.

Or shall I go somewhere new?

Guess!

PS.  It’s only 10.45am and the hail and heavy rain has just started (it’s Saturday morning as I type this post).

BRIGHTON BEACH (or how I made my first slideshow using iMovie)

Yesterday was a momentous day.

I wanted to make another YouTube, (or slide show), with sound.

With the Picasa software used in the past no longer on my computer, I discovered it was no longer available or supported on the internet either.  So a couple of days ago I started searching for a new piece of editing software that would do the same thing.

And, to make the task easier, I decided on a simple slide show based on my Brighton Beach images.  Note: I’ve use these images before to make a Picasa software slide show with a standard piece of music which was available on Picasa at that time.

Brighton Beach is in a bayside suburb not too far from Melbourne city (by bus, train or car), known for its iconic colourful bathing boxes. These bathing boxes, or storage sheds, can only be owned by local residents and on the rare occasion one is sold, such as in January 2016, the auction resulted in the astonishing figure of Aust$285,000.  Just imagine a painted shed being sold for that gigantic sum. No land.  Just a SHED!  Just as well Brighton is an affluent suburb.  I’ve uploaded some sample shots to paint a picture of the beach I’m working with for this slide show.

Finally, Friday night, I decided just to upload iMovie onto my Mac and give it a try.  It took about 8 hours to download and I had to leave the computer on all night.  It wiped out approximately 2.2GB (which I didn’t take in when I read the instructions) so with only an 8GB monthly internet package, I’m going to run out of internet this month (unless I stay off the computer for most of the next week or two.

Anyway, yesterday morning, at the end of the download, I opened iMovie and stared intently at the Black space with the various options at the top of the screen……..I stared blankly for a fair while in fact.  My brain was going around in circles in Imagination & Creative mode i.e. the Right side of the Brain was firing.

I thought it pointless to read, or watch, a tutorial on how to make a movie or slide show using iMovie, as by the time the tutorial was over I would have forgotten half of what it said :).

Yesterday I stared at the black screen for some time after the overnight upload.  I nearly went into one of my regular Meditations with the focus on the words ‘black screen’ repeated over and over in my brain.  I snapped out of that when I realised half the day was gone and I was still in my PJs…………and the screen was still black.

iMovie has dozens, (if not hundreds?), of music clips, so I just chose the sound of waves crashing for this first test exercise.  Fortunately I’m still very good at observing small details visually, so realised very quickly if I took images from several beach visits, the sky might be bright blue in some shots and overcast on others.  One cold Autumn day I was down at Brighton Beach and it was pretty much deserted.    On another, the broad stretch of soft sand at low tide was crowded (it being sunny and a weekend).   So I couldn’t use too many images showing the sandy section of the beach or the sky colour.

One day the waves were merely lapping at the fine seaweed and shells sprinkled haphazardly across the sand high tide line.  Another day, the waves were crashing with high spray and greater ferocity.  So choosing to make a slide show from several beach visits was not without some challenges yesterday.   But, I do have a certain amount of patience and tenacity (as shown in my working life, as much as in my current bird and nature photography hobby).

Towards the end of my initial test slide show, I placed the pale sky and images made facing into the sun (giving silhouettes), to suggest to the viewer the sun, was getting low in the sky.  It wasn’t late in the day, so this was merely an illusion.

Then I couldn’t work out why it didn’t upload to my YouTube channel.

This morning I finally noticed that I hadn’t given it enough time to upload (to YouTube).  Duhhh!

It took a few minutes and then I decided to share my test sample of using the Apple Mac’s iMovie software with you.

So here ’tis.

My very first slide show using iMovie.  Remember I’m only a beginner and this was my first attempt.  But I thought it was pretty good for a first attempt.

Enjoy………………….and yes, you are excused if the sound of crashing waves gets too monotonous and you turn the sound off 🙂

FROM THE ARCHIVES………………..A YOUTUBE

Many moons ago, when I was more au fait with my computer, had more ‘grey matter’ in my brain and had Picasa editing software installed, I made 4 YouTubes from a range of early photos.  I’d forgotten all about them until yesterday and thought to share one of them today.  Amateurish they might be, but I seem to remember they were great fun to play around with.  These were made when I had only one blog, Victoria A Photography (now deleted).

I split into 2 new blogs, A Black & White blog under my name Vicki A Alford – Photographer  (which I don’t use often) and this current Nature blog you’re now reading, Living with Nature.

Living with Nature could have been titled A walk with my camera as that is what it is.  Just images I make when out walking (for fresh air and exercise).  These days I never go to a particular place to photograph a sunset.  Any sunset shot is merely what I happen to see at the end of a walk, or from my apartment balcony.  There’s a professional photographer called Vicki Alford in Melbourne, so I inserted the first letter of my middle name to differentiate between the 2 of us.

Back in those days, I dabbled in Food Photography as well.

Food Photography became rather expensive as I had to keep buying so many different ingredients for recipes (to photograph).  There were many times when I ate the food/recipe before I’d decided on the final image to share, as it looked so yummy.  It not only looked yummy, it was delicious as I used to be a good cook.  This clip opens with the image which was a finalist in the Michaels Camera Store monthly contest – “Food” – a few years ago –  Caponata Siciliana – a sweet/sour Bruschetta dish of which I am extraordinarily fond.  I made about 50 images and then, dissatisfied with the results, ate the food.  The next day I went out and bought all the ingredients again, made many more images and ended up choosing the shot below.

Michaels Camera Store in Melbourne is my ‘go to’ shop for anything Photographic and the assistants have been more than generous with their time and advice.

In fact, I spent months trying out all the long telephoto lenses, (including the Canon L series expensive lenses I couldn’t possibly afford), before I chose the Sigma 150-500mm f5.0-6.3 lens for my bird photography.  Due to my poor memory, I used to visit the store regularly with queries, both technical and lens related.  No question was EVER too trivial or silly for these highly knowledgeable sales assistants – all of whom are very experienced photographers themselves.  I believe some of them are professional photographers who work in the store part-tome to supplement their income.

I visit less often now that I live further away from Melbourne’s city centre.

Hope you enjoy the variety of images in this clip……