Tag Archives: australia

xmas in oz

Australia_2009-12-13_NullaborWA_009No, I’m not in Oz. Only in the archive. I’ve finally made it to the 2009-2010 Australia trip. Only one year left! And who isn’t burning for an update? Today I’m on December 15, 2009: Cactus Beach, Eastern Nullarbor, SA, image 8,263. Wow. What a country.

These joyful Christmas kangaroos were tied to the campsite kitchen door at Fraser Rage Station, on the far Western end of the Nullarbor.

While I admit I’m never thrilled about the cold, NYC is especially pretty and festive this time of year, and I’m glad it’s still my home. Editing the Australia photos confirms that—though it was an amazing trip in a truly stunning country (with the weirdest, coolest animals in the world).

Going through the photos makes me want to tell the stories, of course. The scenery is so stunning and gorgeous. Once again, I’m looking back to tell stories about trips in the past, because I didn’t want to spend too much time on the computer while traveling, and because I didn’t have time when I got back. Time does give interesting perspective, though. On a 5,881 mile road trip, you can be sure there are fantastic tales.

Few Australians make that trip across the Nullarbor, and many think it’s crazy (particularly in a 1997 Holden Commodore station wagon, affectionately known as Green Dragon). For all the traveling Aussies seem to do in the world, many don’t see much of their own country. Strange, but I certainly didn’t mind the pristine, empty beaches. So beautiful.

Update: I made it to December 17, 2009! The birthday of not one, but two great-nephews (HB Porter & Isaac!). I’m stopping for now on image 8360, one year ago today, with the realization that I did not shoot at all on the stretch in South Australia from Port Augusta, down the B82, with its cute towns, to Adelaide, over to the Great Ocean Road, where I picked up on December 20th.

welcome back to america

The first words spoken to me when I returned to the States were by the immigration guy in San Francisco. “New York, huh? You live there? By choice?”

Hmm. Yeah.

I marched on to baggage claim to wait 50 minutes for my bag to pop out. After a 1.5 hour delay because of “weather” in SF, we flew on to NYC. Once over the tri-state area I was flabbergasted by all the congestion. There are probably more people in the NY Metro area then the entire continent of Australia. Good word. Do they really need me here, too?

My bag arrived quickly this time. The airport was quiet as it was nearing midnight. I caught a cab for 20 miles that cost a fifth of my 10,000 mile flight to Sydney after being told that the supershuttle I’d reserved would require a 90+ minute wait. That’s the service one gets with a reservation? Sit until past 1:30am after 27hrs in transit? Welcome home. Imagine living in a place where someone can pick you up from the airport. Sigh.

When I loaded up on groceries the next night, after a few hours sleep and a full day of work, I tried to imagine someone in Australia rolling over my foot with a cart and not even looking up, much less apologizing. No. Wouldn’t happen. Yet here it’s commonplace, I grumped, as I flexed my crushed foot. At Fairway? It’s premeditated.

Some people love this and everything else about New York, but the older I get and the more I get out, I realize that it just isn’t normal, healthy, or pleasant. Unless you’re a millionaire, New York is an entirely uncivilized place to live. Yes, there are lots of nice moments. Like the MTA guy who let me in without paying because none of the vending machines were taking debit or credit cards and I needed to buy my monthly pass. And the baby seated next to me on the train home who grabbed my thumb and held it the rest of his ride, unbeknownst to his mother because of his puffy coat. But these don’t quite make up for the angry bodies pushing onto the trains and up the steps, not to mention the lack of infrastructure to handle so many people. Why weren’t the four machines taking cards anyway? One only took coins! People think they’re tough because they deal with this stuff all day. Bullshit. They’re numb. I know. It’s not a great way to be. Get out for a while and breathe. Stretch out. Relax. Ahhh.

Anyway, I get like this often, especially on return from a trip. Let’s hope I finally do something about it. And soon. Far too quickly I’ll be back to thinking it’s normal.

patience. and how to learn photog. or just learn.

scancafe2Oh yes, she’s still droning on about scancafe. As if she didn’t have plenty of other things to do in preparation for the trip (clean, organize, photocopy docs, buy stuff like a swim shirt/rashguard so that she dosen’t become one with the many Aussies who develop skin cancer, but does acquire a cute surfer-girl look. Okay, Andrea is making her get one. She like the pink). Okay, sorry, no more third person. I’m reviewing the scancafe images again, now that ‘quality control’ has rescanned and reloaded them. I’m deleting more, whilst trying my very best to be patient. (Shouldn’t this have been done weeks ago?) Instead of sharing the current frustrations, I’ll step back explain how I’m trying to approach this waste use of my time.

Looking at almost every image I took from 1998-2003, and deleting the ones I don’t want, I’m trying to note why some work and others don’t. Missed expressions, bad exposures, off compositions obviously kill an image. I’m noticing what I did right and what I didn’t. There is a huge improvement over the years, and I’m hoping this time editing will help me while shooting. I’m also trying to notice what focal lengths I tend toward, and light techniques in difficult lighting.

I find that I learn best by a combination of repetition and osmosis. Instead of writing down notes, I’m just letting my brain take in info passively as I sift through all the images, and let it absorb what makes an image work. It’s a longer process than studying more actively, and there are times I do that as well, but I feel that this method is deeper and longer lasting, because it integrates naturally with what I already know.

I would like a year off (who wouldn’t) to work on photos, thoughts, and yoga. Integrate and develop what little I know. Hmmm.

the next trip: down under

rani elephant sri lanka

Now that I’m almost done with editing and posting the Sri Lanka pics (above, Rani. More in the next post), my free time has been hijacked by planning for the next trip. I bought tickets this week for an eight week trip to Australia, a 40-hr journey to Perth (perhaps more door-to-door), where I’ll meet Andrea. We’ll hang out there awhile and then head south to Margaret River, Esperance, and continue on across to Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney. Yes, this is a huge trip to be taken in Andrea’s green station wagon, purchased more or less for this sort of trip. I’m excited because I can use some time camping and resting on the beach after so much city life. Will be an adventure if the car breaks down, but that’s all part of the deal. Anyone who tells me this is mad can read about my friend Sherry’s lone bike trip across Australia. I think we can manage it in a car (though that train does look nice).

So I’m a bit behind on finishing up on the Sri Lanka stories. I’d hoped to be finished by now. And scancafe is meant to have my 5,000 some images ready to peruse—in ten days. To divide the free time between finishing and planning is difficult, as plans have a deadline. (Though it might not seem so from my travels, I do work.) I’m hoping to write and edit a bit as I go on this trip, but we’ll see. It is nice to set the laptop down (if not the camera).

Any thoughts (advice, experiences, etc) are very welcome.