Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In the Yard at Ipswich

Over the back fence, the neighbors have some manderine (we call them tangerines) trees. These are producing fruit now and there's mandarines on the ground. A Kookaburra came by to sample the local cuisine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Another Visit to UQ Gatton

While in Gatton we, of course, made another stop at the University of Queensland, Gatton Campus to visit the environmental park. This is been a rich place for seeing lots of Plumed Whistling Ducks. Not this time. Smaller numbers of birds and mostly, but not only, old friends. Above is a Pacific Black Duck.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Visit to Lake Apex

On the way to Ipswich, we left the Warrego Highway, the main expressway, for a while and stopped in Gatton again. We went to Lake Apex to see what was happening with the bird populations now that spring is a little closer. The Australian White Ibis are still out in force.


We are now in Ipswich, a suburb of Brisbane for a week to take care of a small mixed, mostly silky terrier, dog. Her "mom" has gone to the beach on the Gold Coast for some R&R and we are here to learn about things nearer Brisbane.

We've already scouted out a mall or two and figured out places to go for a walk along the Bremer River. There is a shopping mall along one bank and a park with board walks along the opposite.

Although we are in town, it is quite here and there is a nice patio/garden in the back. The birds are the usual (for southeastern Queensland) suspects, but there are parks galore here, just as in Toowoomba. We will explore and report.

There is also a rail museum in town we intend to examine. Film at 11.

All Saints Church, Yandilla

Yandilla is not really place at all. The speed limit doesn't drop when you do through it. There is no gas station, no general store, no post office...nothing. There are a few scattered houses and a very small church.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Just outside Yandilla, we found a field of what seems to be corn stubble from last year. In this field were what appeared to be several thousand Sulphur Crested Cockatoos along with a few other birds.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Flying Foxes Again

A quick trip to Kearny Springs Historical Park in Toowoomba to see what is happening. It seems that what is happening is Flying Foxes. they are now much more active and vocal.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What is a Weekend?

As we slide toward the time of year when, for my friends still in academia, it all begins again, I pause for a short reflection on my current state in the universe. The remark by the Dowager Countess of Grantham about weekends seems to sum up the perspective I'm acquiring.

Some HDR Testing

After explore some old sets of image I took in the UK to rediscover HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, I decided to try a few tests while at the Japanese Gardens here in Toowoomba.

The image above is taken with the D800E mounted on a tripod and polarizing filter in front. Five images were taken at 0, +/- 1, and +/-2 stops from the metered exposure. Nice, intense colors and a good dynamic range.

Next is the same process but now with much longer exposure using a ND filter on the front the longest exposure time was 30 seconds. Again, lots of color saturation and now a glassy smooth pond surface as is typical of the longer exposures.

Finally, here is a single exposure that I've processed. I'd say that in this case, I don't really need the time and effort of an HDR image, Capture One has done a very nice job of bringing out the inherent dynamics range of the Nikon.

To push the experiment a bit further, I repeated the process with an infrared filter and converted the result to B&W.

Again, the longer exposures required smooth ehe water and blur the clouds. They don't register well from image to image since they move between shots and it makes for slightly odd shapes.

Here is just a single image process in Capture One and the Nik Silver Effects.

I'd say I don't often need the complicated HDR method to capture full dynamic range images. What say you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Pied Currawong

Another visit to the Japanese Gardens to see what is happening as spring moves along here and we find a very interest behavior with a couple Pied Currawongs. They are laying on the ground playing in a very unusual way.

Monday, August 22, 2016

More Dangers in Australia

One item about our trip to the Bunya Mountains I failed to include in the previous post on this topic is that there trees in the forest that are out to get you. Even paradise has a dark side.

In the photo above, you see a Bunya Pine on the left and in the middle distance (a good place to keep them) a pair of buttressed Stinging Trees.

Back when we were in the UK

As many of you know, we were in England in the spring of 2014. While there we visited Canterbury one day to see the cathedral and the town. As the sun was sinking, I was feeling the need to exercise my pixels and decided to make an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image of a rooftop and some clouds.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Bunya Mountains

We have now officially been to paradise! It is in the Bunya Mountains. It really isn't that far from Toowoomba -- less that two hours. You would not have thought that there would be signs, now would you?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Out to Jondaryan

We visited the small church and cemetery in Jondaryan again and more fully explored the graves. It was a windy day with lots of sunshine. Birds were scarce although we did see a few hunting lunch one the open fields.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

On the Mainland

On the way back to Toowoomba from Fraser Island, we stopped along the mainland coast at Maaroom, Boonooroo, and Tin Can Bay to see what we could see. At Boonooroo we saw Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek

After a ride on the 75 Mile Beach and a bite of lunch at the Eurong Resort, we headed inland to the Central Station. This was the center of the logging industry until the late 1950's. The growths on the tree in the photo above are called Elkhorn Ferns.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

75 Mile Beach

On the eastern side of Fraser Island is very big beach. 75 miles of it...hence the name. It is a beach, a road and a landing strip for small planes. It is place for sunbathing and sightseeing, fishing and flying, but not swimming. Lots of rip tides.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Whale Watching Cruise in Platypus Bay

On our first full day at Kingfisher Bay, we booked a cruise on a ½-day whale watching cruise. In the clear blue waters of the Platypus Bay at the northern end of Fraser Island, we saw more whales that we could imagine. There were, at various times, two or three pods of whales swimming around our boat. Some, like the one above, were playing with us...rolling over and waving hello.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Best Birthday

I have discovered the best way to spend a birthday. First, since last week was my birthday, going to Fraser Island was pretty amazing. But the important part is being on the other side of the world from home.

Another visit to the Beach

On the path from the hotel to the beach grow Boronia bushes. Although it is a bit early in the season, they are beginning to bloom. The stem is much like rosemary and when crushed, has a smell like anise.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky

This past week, to celebrate my birthday, E took me to Fraser Island. This is the largest sand island in the world and it is located about 4.5 hours from Toowoomba, north of Brisbane. We reached the island by ferry.

Monday, August 08, 2016

A Few Days of Silence

We are off on an adventure for the next few days and not taking the laptops along. All will be revealed when we return. Expect activity on the blog this coming weekend.

Hey, it was a surprise for me, so I can keep you in suspense for a few days too, right?

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Margaret Street Market

Following yesterday's Farmer's Market, we went to the Margaret Street Market today. Some of the same vendors and some new ones. This happens once a month on a closed block of Margaret Street in the CBD.

Adjusting to Life Down Under

After a month in Oz, we are  catching on to the art of speaking Australian, knowing what to expect, and how to respond to the culture/environment. There are many phrases you'll find in lots of places: no worries, G'day Mate, barbie, etc. What has caught our attention are all the things that are abbreviated or altered or simply are different from what we are used to. Great fun all around.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Toowoomba Farmer's Market

It's that one Saturday morning a month when Toowoomba has its farmer's market on the grounds of the Cobb & Co Museum. We had a bacon and egg bun and took in the wares on sale.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Short-Beaked Echidna

We went for a walk today in Redwood Park, a near vertical-seeming park at the crest of the Toowoomba Range. While there we happened upon an echidna out for a forage.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Cooby Dam

It's been rainy the last couple days, but after a reconnaissance mission to Cooby Dam just outside Toowoomba, we made another trip yesterday to explore. This dam provides water to the city of Toowoomba and surrounding communities. As you see, we saw Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Monday, August 01, 2016

GPS Confusion

From IFL Science:
The Australian Plate is moving about 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) northwards every single year. This motion has accumulated over the decades to produce a significant discrepancy between local coordinates on maps and global coordinates in digital navigation systems used by satellites.
At present, this difference amounts to an error of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). This is enough to cause a problem to anything in Australia that uses GPS-like systems, including smartphones and vehicles.
 Perhaps this is why we keep wandering aimlessly around the countryside and having adventures.