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.
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)?
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).
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.
The iconic kiosk at the end of St Kilda Pier
It may be winter, but it was a lovely day for a beach walk.
The new boat slip from the St Kilda yacht club.
St Kilda Boat Marina
Lots of sparkles on the sea surface.
Looking towards the suburb of St Kilda from halFway down the pier
Oh no, the kiosk is closed so I won’t get my usual hot fish and chips.
Past the kiosk at the end of the pier is a rocky outcrop which protects some of the boat marina.
Looking straight down to the shells and seaweed around a pier pylon.
The top of the old Kiosk
A lone Silver Gull looks over the scene
The boat marina
…..an extension of the boat marina.
A couple of figures joins the scene to make for a better composition.
Images cropped as there was too much sky and sea
Looking down again and despite the lack of a polarising lens to cut through the water reflections, I got a fairly good view of the seaweed
Looking back down the pier towards the shore
Melbourne City in the background
Despite the winter season, plenty of visitors enjoying the Winter sunshine
St Kilda Yacht Club
Another scene incorporating all the cafes and restaurants (where I eventually bought some hot Fish & Chips).
A slightly better view of the scene gained by zooming in a wee bit closer.
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.
I figure its time for a change of subject matter as the sky is flawless with not a cloud in sight and I’m stuck at home listening to the construction crew across the road belting out nail gun ‘bullets’ at lightning-fast speed. The sound is getting a wee bit tedious and boring today, but far too sunny to close the sliding door out to the balcony.
I’ve had a constant stream of House Sparrows dropping in for a drink at my birdbath on such a warm afternoon, but none staying long enough for a real photoshoot.
Well…….maybe one or two……many of the avian visitors are slim and quite small so I can’t help but wonder if they’re this Spring’s House Sparrow offspring. The stripe behind the eye denotes a female, but as far as I can see all the young sparrows have this stripe. Makes me wonder at what stage House Sparrows reach puberty and turn into little boy sparrows with their rust-coloured caps.
Time to raid the archives for some uplifting images of times past…..back to 2013…… down at Brighton Beach with its iconic colourful bathing boxes (in both Summer & Winter excursions). You don’t need me to point out which of the following was made in Summer and which images were made in Winter.
Enjoy the excursion, whatever the weather.
Brrrr…….it’s a bit cold for a beach excursion, but who cares when you’re just starting out with a photography hobby.
How do photographers know when to raise the horizon up towards the top of the image. I was soon to find out.
Little Pied Cormorant in the foreground in focus. Chestnut Teals, Pied Cormorants and Silver Gulls in the background.
Part of a brightly coloured bathing box. The record price for one of these ‘boxes’ was $337,000 in April 2018 when a Grandfather bought one for his family.
If you want the picture sometimes you have to make sacrifices like getting your legs wet.
This photographer had her back turned when I made this image. At least I didn’t have to ask her permission to upload it to my blog since her back keeps the ID unidentifiable.
Looks like an imitation of Katsushika Hokusai’s (c1829-1833) The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Hooray! I shout. I got a moving bird in focus. Just don’t tell anyone it was taking off and going at snail’s pace.
This shot reminds me of summer beach holidays as a child.
Taking your dog for a walk down the beach can be very tiring. This owner was fast asleep leaning against a bathing box.
Always good to match your socks to the bathing box decor.
Brighton is an affluent southern bayside suburb of Melbourne and easy to get to via bus or train if you live on the southern side of Melbourne.
I don’t know how often the owners paint their boxes, but these 2 looked pretty fresh and colourful.
The end of this Winter excursion as I make my way up a sandy path to reach the road where the bus stop is (to go home).
Summer and some blue skies
The train station is on the other side of this outcrop of land and quite some distance away. On later excursions I found a bus route that was a bit closer.
Don’t forget to look down (as well as around) when you visit the beach.
The pebbles are just as colourful as the shells.
Does this broken pottery come from a ship lost at sea in a storm? Who knows?
Nothing like photographing into the sun to catch the silver highlights.
I love the way the receding tide makes patterns in the sand.
Pin k and Grey is rather a conservative colour combination on this row of amazing bathing boxes.
Lift your head, I can’t see your face.
The perfect sight to raise your spirits and make the 3 bus journey down to the beach worthwhile.
Yes, there’s quite a few boxes.
I think this was a different excursion to the beach as those leaves look like Autumn leaves to me.
Mussels and coral discourage bare feet from crossing over.
Silver Gulls are a large seabird and the most familiar of Australian gulls.
THIS GULL WAS STANDING VERY FIRMLY IN THE SHALLOWS FACING THE STRONG WIND AND SEEMINGLY GLARING AT ME AS I SHOT THIS PHOTO.The adult has a white head, neck and body, pale grey wings with black primaries showing white tips at rest.
The beak, eye-rings and legs are scarlet.
Immature Silver Gulls are duller, with brown flecks on wings forming a conspicuous bar in flight. Their beak is brownish and the legs blackish.
I see them everywhere, not just down at the beach.
On the old buildings at the Meat & Fish section of Queen Victoria Market in North Melbourne – waiting for the fish scraps to be thrown out at the end of market day…..
At Melbourne Zoo next to the pond in the Japanese Garden……
In the city square on the lawn area………
In my local area along the Maribyrnong River…….
You just never know when they’re going to take off……
or jump up and down at Port Melbourne beach…..
Or quietly sit down for a rest at St Kilda Beach (near South Melbourne) at dusk…..
I’m trying to cut down more and more computer work. For some weird reason I can’t fathom, my astigmatism (double vision) seems slightly worse since my hospital stay last week and now that the days are getting a wee bit warmer and Spring is on the horizon, I’m trying to channel my energy into some possible new hobbies or pastimes. Don’t know what yet.
Over the past 18 months I’ve cut back to 60 blogs to follow (instead of 140) – many of which were no longer posting anyway.
Many of the interesting writer’s blogs have been in the cull. I just find it hard to read much in one sitting. (although, funnily enough, I cantype long posts myself 😀 just have trouble proof-reading them a zillion times to rectify the typos).
This is not because I have no desire to fill my morning with these wonderful words of wisdom or adventure, but simply that energy, eyesight and health are starting to deteriorate a wee bit more.
One of the best blogs I follow is by Karl Duffy. It’s not a nature or photography blog, but a Mindfulness blog and I find his daily quotes or book extracts are nearly always inspirational, positive and uplifting.
In a life filled with health restrictions, I need all the help I can get to remain focused on what I can do, (not what I can’t).
Karl Duffy’s post for today seems relevant to me. Do take the time to check out his posts and see if his blog is one that you might like to follow ( Mindfulbalance ).
NOTE: The images in this post were made at Port Melbourne Beach (the shells and Silver Gulls) and Brighton Beach (with the colourful bathing boxes) – too far away now I live in one of Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Perhaps when the days get longer in Summer’s DST (Daylight Savings Time), the longer bus/tram or train (or all 3) might be fun to travel on simply for the journey and looking out the window (if not a long walk along the beach).
Sometimes the best photography locations I’ve found simply by getting on a bus or tram and going to wherever it took me (to). That’s how I discovered Port Melbourne Beach and Station Pier (where the overnight ferry leaves for the island state of Tasmania – a place I’ve been many times as a child – staying on my Grandmother’s dairy farm during school holidays).
Selling my car in November 2003 was one of the best things I ever did in terms of getting a little more adventurous in urban living – one is forced to use the Public Transport system and travel through suburbs and bayside beaches I’d previously ignored.
(although I do sometimes wish I still had a car to drive up the country and mountainous regions in my State eg. The Dandenong Ranges National Park past the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne).