Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Dig Tree

Flying the Outback – day 2

The Dig Tree

We woke fairly early and decided to take a drive around White Cliffs. The mounds of white dirt was like ant hills scattered throughout the town, I got out of the car a couple of times to take pics and was really careful as I jumped around. The old mine shafts are literally everywhere and some would be 30 feet deep. The last thing I needed was to fall down one of those!

At 9am breakfast was served at the pub and then it was time to say goodbye to White Cliffs. We wanted to go and check out the Dig Tree, this is the tree that is attached to the historical explorers, Burke & Wills.

The Dig Tree

The Burke and Wills ‘Dig Tree’ is one of Australia’s national icons and an enduring reminder of our pioneering spirit. Located on the Northern bank of Coopers Creek the ‘Dig Tree’ is a Coolibah (Eucalyptus microtha). It is believed that the tree is 200-250 years old. Before the base camp party deserted the depot (stockade Depot Camp 65), only hours before Burke and Wills did return from the Gulf, they had buried some provisions in the remote chance of Burke and Wills return and instructions to dig were carved into the trunk of the tree. The three blazes on the dig tree were:

B LXV Trunk, creek side
Dig 3FT NW Trunk, land side
Dec 6 60 April 21 61 Limb upstream

These Blazes have now been covered to help preserve the tree. Burke’s face was carved into another tree (the ‘Face Tree’) about 30m downstream of the ‘Dig Tree’ by John Dick in 1898 and is still clearly visible. Apart from the boardwalk structure built around the tree to help protect it, the site as you view it now is as Burke and Wills and companions would have viewed it nearly 140 years ago.

the daily pic – towers outback

It is hard to convey the vastness of the outback… there is a lot of flat ground out there!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

 

Categories: Australian Locations, Outback | Leave a comment

White Cliffs.. or is it the moon?

Flying the outback – day 1

I have had my pilots license for nearly 20 years, and never ventured further west than Dubbo… my buddy Peter went on a jaunt a couple of years ago with one of his mates, Greg, and he owns a Piper Archer and has thousands of hours experience. They ended up stuck out there when the dust storms hit hard… anyway, this year, he asked if I wanted to go on a trip with Greg into the outback… I didn’t even hesitate… I just said hell yeah!

Our plan was to depart on a Thursday morning and return the following Monday… however, the weather gods kept us on the ground until Saturday… our enthusiasm (well mine anyway) was not dampened and I was keen to get in the air and take advantage of what looked like 3 of the best flying days I have seen!

On day 1 we departed from Bankstown airport and tracked over Parkes and landed in Cobar for fuel. I love how friendly the country folk are, a quick call and our refueler was on his way. Once refueled we pointed the nose of our Archer to White Cliffs and enjoyed the view from 8500′.

Sunset at White Cliffs

One thing about the outback is it is easy to spot each town, unlike on the coast, each town is isolated and a bunch of corrugated roofs in the middle of the red dirt makes them easy to see.  We had about 25 mins until sunset as we landed in White Cliffs. Like a lot of outback destinations  the publican also looks after refueling the aircraft, and your overnight accommodation… Once landed I made a quick call to the publican, Geoff. He was there in a few minutes to help us refuel, packed our bags into the back of his trusty Landcruiser and drove us into town (about a 3 minute journey!)

White Cliffs has a population of 200, and I think they’re including cats and dogs in these numbers! It is known for it’s Opal Mining.

We stayed at the White Cliffs Hotel, Geoff and Helen had only just taken over managing the Hotel from Graham Wellings, who from what I understand has been running the Pub for the last 37 years… the hotel is what you would expect from outback accommodation, basic but enough… at only $80 for the night it was a bed and a shower. The standout for me was the hospitality of Geoff and Helen. I felt like I was being welcomed into their home… dinner was around a table with a bunch of other guests, Geoff and Helen were always making sure we were comfortable, Geoff even lent us his car to take a look around town… thanks Geoff!

There is an underground motel in town, and if I find myself in White Cliffs in the future, I will stay here for the experience…

the daily pic – White Cliffs or the Moon…

One of the benefits of being a pilot is we get a birds eye view… this is White Cliffs from the air… yes you would be correct in saying there are no cliffs! Not that you can see from the air anyway… there are plenty if cliffs if you look underground!

That is the town in the distance… there are two hills, and this is where most of the locals live… a lot of them live in dugout homes, it is much cooler and it doesn’t take many resources to build. What you can see in this photo is all of the disused mine shafts, they have been mining out here since the early 1900’s…

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Outback | Leave a comment

Home after 3 days in the Outback

White Cliffs

I have had my pilots license for 20 years and the furthest west I had ventured was Dubbo… for various reasons the main one being confidence… I always had this impression that flying the outback would be difficult and didn’t bother… luckily for me, a friend introduced me to one of his friends that had several thousand hours, and a lot of those were accrued in the outback. It was too good an opportunity to say no when he asked if I was interested in doing a trip with him!

The day we were set to depart was a no-go… there was a front making it’s way across NSW and there was no way we could safely get on our way, so we decided to wait until the next morning, unfortunately, the front had created a whole bunch of unstable weather and we were grounded for another day… day 3… success, the weather was perfect and we were on our way. Our first night we headed to White Cliffs, with a population of just 200 people, it is known for Opal Mining. From the air it sort of looks like the moon!

I took this just after we landed, we arrived 20 mins before sun set.

VH-MIZ at White Cliffs

Categories: Australian Locations | 1 Comment

Life in Lavender Bay

My iMac got sick….

Have you ever had your PC or Mac throw a tanty and decide not to work? Maybe I should just ask “do you own a PC or MAC?” as I am sure that everyone that owns one of these wonders of technology have had their fair share of hiccups along the way. I am unfortunately the “I.T. go to guy” in our house.

My daughter came to me the other day to tell me the iMac had eaten her homework for dinner! She was clicking on the pages app to access her newly written masterpiece and it was just bobbing up and down in the dock getting some excersize! After a little investigating and prodding by me, all I did was make the situation worse… the iMac was telling me the pages app could not be run on my type of mac… huh? it did yesterday and the previous 365 days so what made today so different?

Anyway, the iMac had been running slow and I put this down to the Hard Drive filling up fast, since getting the D800 I am churning out 30MB raw files and shooting HDR means that every shot takes 150MB of hard drive real estate… time to get an external drive.

I bought a 2TB beast and transferred all of my raw files to it… I was then able to re-install iWork and get pages going again… thank goodness… and thanks to the mac’s auto-save my daughters homework was retrieved!

Today I am upgrading the RAM from 4gb to 20gb to help when processing images in Photoshop as I have noticed it ‘slow down’ with the new larger raw images… I will let you know how that goes soon… in the meantime, I suggest using an external drive for your RAW files… it will keep your machine working faster.

the daily pic – life in lavender bay

If I was to live near the City, I think this is the view I would want. Overlooking Lavender Bay one rainy morning, the sun broke through the clouds long enough to act as a spotlight for the city… enjoy!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Sydney | 1 Comment

Long Jetty Cats

Full Res images available on Flickr

I have decided to start uploading my images to my Flickr Account in full resolution so you can view and enjoy all the detail in my images and maybe use them for your desktop background if you like! Remember, you are free to use any of my digital images for your personal use (blogs, school assignments, your facebook page etc) as long as you provide a link to my facebook page or my website… if you want a print of one of my images or want to use them for commercial purposes please contact me for details!

Image Licensing Info HERE

Visit my Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benfewtrell/

the daily pic – Long Jetty Cats

As beautiful as this spot is, you’re lucky that smell is not conveyed through photo’s… this is long Jetty, one of my favourite sunset locations, the only downside is that the lake smells a little!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Central Coast | Leave a comment

Leading to the Opera

Heading to the Outback…

This weekend I will be jumping in a light plane and flying to the outback. I am heading to Birdsville and on the way I will spend my first night at Tibooburra. There is a hill there called ‘sunset hill’ and hopefully the weather gods turn on a beaut show for me… I have never flown myself further west than Dubbo so this will be a tick off the bucket list by itself. On day two I will be making the short flight to Birdsville and may stay one or two nights depending on accommodation. At this stage they only have one night available. For the next evening I may head accross to Camerons Corner, this is where NSW, SA and QLD meet, it is a short 2 hour flight from Birdsville… I am sure I will grab some great shots on my trip and I look forward to sharing those with you on my return!

the daily pic – leading to the opera

I enjoy wandering around Sydney Harbour. There are so many different angles and compositions that I am yet to get… One of the things I am noticing about my photography is my need for foreground and leading lines… a lot of my images have both of these features. I love how I have captured the seagull in this, is sort of fills the blank space on the top left hand of the frame… small but makes an impression… enjoy!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Sydney | Leave a comment

an Igloo on the Harbour!

Creating Realistic HDR

Sometimes I wonder if HDR stands for Horribly Disastrous Results… even when I look back at my first HDR images they make me cringe! I see so many badly processed HDR images and really, it doesn’t take much to get them looking so much better…  So what makes a great HDR image?

HDR is just a process, just like converting an image to black and white, it works with some images and not others, however, you still need to follow the basic fundamentals of photography to create a great image, HDR is not a magical cure that will fix a badly taken photo, if your subject is dull and boring, HDR won’t bring it to life…

Understanding some of the negative side effects of HDR processing will help you learn how to overcome these and end up with much nicer images. There are so many different programs for creating your HDR image, and they all work slightly differently, although, the side effects are similar. The main issues you will suffer are halos, ghosting and noise.

To read the FULL ARTICLE you can do by heading over to HDR One Online Photography Magazine

the daily pic – Igloo on the Harbour

Is that an Igloo on the Harbour Foreshore???? It certainly is… and a RED one to boot! I took this during Vivid Sydney, that is why you can also see several photographers down below… they are there to capture the brilliant light displays Sydney Vivid have to offer!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Sydney | Leave a comment

the tail of the dragon

Heading back to China

I am seriously considering heading back to China next year for a photography tour… there are some absolutely stunning things to photograph and there is plenty of history and culture to soak up, from the Great Wall to the Hutong’s and Silk Market… the street photography is plentiful… I will put together an itinerary and some rough pricing to see who is keen on joining me… stay tuned…

the daily pic – from the tail of the dragon

A night shot from the tail of the dragon. Pangu is a 7 star hotel in Beijing built in the shape of a Dragon. That is the head that you can see in the distance… I took this from the Bar in the tail of the dragon…

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Beijing | Leave a comment

on3legs Photowalk

Save the date – 1st September

I am running my first official on3legs photowalk in Sydney on Saturday the 1st September. This is your chance to get together with like minded people that will actually enjoy hearing all about your photography stuff and adventures… And it doesn’t matter what type of camera you use, if you love taking photos, even if it’s with your smartphone, then come along!

We will be  starting at Blues Point Reserve for a 3:00pm meet and greet, and of course photo’s of the Harbour Bridge and the city, we will then make our way to the McMahons Point Wharf and jump on a ferry to Circular Quay, followed by a slow wander around to Mrs Macquaries Chair to watch the sunset… this is a great spot for sunset and night photos of the harbour and the city…  everybody welcome!

REGISTER HERE (you can just rock up on the day if you want… but if you feel like you want to officially register… you can!)

the daily pic – Another one off the Bucket List

After seeing the movie ‘Bucket List’ I compiled a list of things I would like to do before I die, and visiting the 7 wonders of the world is on the list, so it was great to be able to visit the Great Wall on my China trip. Photo’s don’t do this wonder justice, the Great Wall is amazing! It stretches for 8000kms accross China and took a couple of hundred years to build, and they did it some 600 years ago! If you have a ‘bucket list’ I would recommend making sure a trip to the Great Wall of China is on your list. This photo was from Jinshanling, a quiet part of the wall, not many tourists will make it to this spot as it is nearly 2 hours from Beijing. This part of the wall was only recently opened to tourists and alot of it has not been restored and can be a little tricky to climb… so make sure you wear good shoes!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Beijing | Leave a comment

What lens should I get next?

One of the most common questions I get…

As an enthusiastic photographer I get asked a lot of questions by a lot of people about all things photography! However, the most common questions I get are about what gear to buy. In particular there is a fair bit of confusion when choosing what lens(es) to buy. I decided it warranted it’s very own page so you can read about it HERE, I also go through the lenses in my kit and explain what I use each lens for and what I like and don’t like about each lens. Hopefully it will help you make a better decision when buying your next lens.

the daily pic – The Water Cube and Birds Nest

On my recent trip to China I spent most of my time in Beijing. I visited the Birds Nest a day earlier and rode a Segway around the running track inside the Olympic Stadium. This was one of the best vantage spots to be able to capture the two sights in one shot, I took it from the Bar in the 7 star ‘Pangu’ hotel building accross the road…

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Beijing, Daily Blog Post | Leave a comment

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