101 SILVER GULLS

Last week I got up close & personal with lots of Seagulls.  Not quite 101, but there were lots of them.

I love watching seagulls.

I make no excuse for buying several lots of hot fish n chips down next to the pier to warm up in the brisk winter wind and then, when the excess got cold, threw them to the many gulls on the sand to bring them closer to my camera lens.

There’s something about the smell of the sea air and the screech of gulls that makes for a holiday atmosphere (despite the virus restrictions).

On the first short walk of the week, the sun continued to tease me.   One minute coming out and warming the temperature up to quite a comfortable level and then, next minute, going behind the clouds and the temperature dropping suddenly to a distinct chill.

I CAUGHT THE EYE OF THIS GULL STANDING PERFECTLY STILL ON THE PIER FENCE.
IT FLEW DOWN TO THE OLD SEA WALL AND STOOD FACING THE OTHER WAY AND I SILENTLY SEND A MESSAGE ASKING IT TO TURN AROUND AND POSE.
IT HALF TURNED AS THOUGH TO SAY “ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?”
I SILENTLY ASKED THE BIRD TO STAND UP A BIT STRAIGHTER AND IT DID!
BUT THE GULL WASN’T OVERLY KEEN ON STANDING STILL FOR LONG. THE SUN WAS NOT VERY BRIGHT AT THIS TIME OF THE AFTERNOON.
IT PAUSED ONCE OR TWICE STARING OFF INTO THE DISTANCE WHILE ITS COMPANIONS STEADILY WALKED ALONG THE SEA WALL.
ANOTHER SEAGULL STOOD ON THE RAIN-POCKED SAND AND ASKED FOR A PHOTO SO I OBLIGED.
THEN IT TOO FLEW UP TO THE SEA WALL AND PONDERED ITS NEXT STEP.  CAN YOU SEE THE TINY BIT OF BROWN ON ITS WING FEATHERS? THAT’S THE LAST OF ITS JUVENILE BROWN WING FEATHERS SOON TO DISAPPEAR.
A ROCK PIGEON FLEW UP ONTO THE WALL AND PROMPTLY CHASED IT AWAY, ACTUALLY, TOWARDS MY CAMERA.
THEN THEY BOTH TURNED AND STEADILY WALKED AFTER THEIR AVIAN COMPANIONS.
LOOKS LIKE THE OTHER GULLS ARE WAITING FOR THESE 2 TO CATCH UP WITH THEM.
THEN THEY ALL FLEW AWAY LEAVING THE OLD BARE WALL QUIET (UNTIL I THREW SOME MORE COLD CHIPS TOWARDS THE DISTANT BIRDS).

The sun had gone behind the clouds so I decided to head for home – only 5 minutes walk away.

Gosh, it must be truly lovely to live near the beach in the summer when there is no waiting for the sun to shine and the screech of gulls is joined by the shrieks and laughter of children and their families.

I wonder what the summer of 2020/2021 will bring this year (in times of so much uncertainty DownUnder)?

THE PERFECT DAY (for photography)

It’s been raining on/off for a few days and today has dawned into the perfect photography day.   (I might add the herbs and tomato plants in my Balcony Garden have got some new healthy leaves too).

Blue sky with a smattering of soft cloud cover and soft light.   There’s barely a whisper of a breeze and I’m thinking I wish I still lived near the beach.   If you’re Australian or have visited Australia for a holiday, you’ll know what I mean by the perfect day.   Our sunlight in summer is harsh.   Nothing like the soft light in central Europe or the U.K. in summer.

(I’ve never been to the U.S. or Canada so I can’t comment about their sunlight and I can’t remember what the light was like when I travelled for a short holiday in central Asia).

Reminds me of the perfect day down at St Kilda Beach & boat marina back on the 23rd August, 2015.   This was a day I made lots of photos as the Winter light was so soft and I knew I’d get some ‘keepers’ (i.e. photos you keep and don’t delete).

One of my favourite images of all time. I love the way each person, couple or group is enjoying the day – each on their own – but all in the scene together.
I don’t think I’ve ever shared this shot before. It’s an old clock tower on the other side of the road. There is actually the main road behind this tower where the trams arrive from the city centre and the multi lane road leads on down to the rest of the bayside suburbs and beaches on Port Phillip Bay – the bay on which Melbourne is built at the northern end.
St Kilda is famous for its old bathing pavilion. There’s now a modern indoor swimming pool and some cafes and larger restaurants in the enormous building. This tower is just a small section of the building.

Regular followers will remember I’ve shared some of these images before, but this is (nearly) the whole series I took that day, so there may be some images you’ve never seen.

You can see I experimented with taking shots with minimal sky (emphasizing the foreground) and then the same scene with maximal sky (emphasizing the clouds and sky colour).   Since I can rarely see in the LCD screen on the back of the camera, I usually have to wait until I get home and download the day’s shooting on the large 27″ screen to see what looks good and what doesn’t.

I never ever knew where to put the horizon in the images until I read a photography book that said you can put it anywhere in the frame you like, depending on whether you want to highlight the foreground, background or sky.   The Winter light in Melbourne is nearly always soft due to the cloud cover.

It was probably the last day I visited this bayside beach which lies so close to Melbourne city.   I could still get there via about 3 connecting buses/trams and a walk, but it would take ages and too expensive to just catch a taxi there and back.

I wish there were apartments I could afford back on that south-eastern side of Melbourne because while I can’t get out and about much for a nature walk these days,  I could still visit these old photography haunts (Royal Botanic Gardens, St Kilda Beach, Brighton Beach, Melbourne Zoo, Port Melbourne Beach) easily if I had a car and could still drive.

So far, February, which is usually our hottest Summer month, has been relatively mild and the weather has included intermittent rain showers (and even heavy rainfalls) to help the firefighters still fighting the numerous large bushfires still burning (which will probably take months to burn themselves out).

Looking at next week’s weather forecast there is some rain still to come.

Looks like all the prayers for Australia from around the world are working.   Sad about the floods on the north-eastern coast where many places have had more rain in one day than in the usual whole summer month though.

But farmers are filled with joy after a 3-year drought in which there was no stock food even in the middle of Winter.  The creeks (small rivers) and rivers had dried up, so I’m hoping they’re back running again.

ST KILDA PIER & BOAT MARINA

Around this time of Winter 6 years ago, I was down at the bayside beach suburb of St Kilda, (to the south of Melbourne city), and this day was the first, and only, afternoon in which I’ve ever seen the sea completely calm at low tide.  The light was dull, but looking straight into the sun gave the illusion that it was dusk and the sun was setting.  Occasionally the sky seemed slightly more mauve than golden.

The images below were made between 2.40pm and 4.20pm – both looking towards the sun……. and away from the sun.

(note: at this time of Winter in Melbourne, the sun goes down fairly early anyway, but 2.40pm………………such a strange and eerie afternoon).

This image looking straight out to the end of St Kilda Pier shows some of the eerie golden light and was actually made slightly later at 4.36 pm, just before I headed for home.