Thursday, December 31, 2009

Newcastle, 5am

I thought I'd get up early this morning & do a pictorial on the last morning of 2009 in Newcastle. I'd envisioned sitting down on the coast & capturing a spectacular summer sunrise breaking over the horizon, slowly waking up the slumbering city. 

How wrong was I!

After getting myself out of bed at 4am, I checked the weather radar on the computer which showed some light showers off the coast, so I thought what the heck, I'm up now, so I may as well try my luck anyway. So arming myself with my old friend the Canon 400D & a cup of coffee, I headed into town, as sunrise wasn't due till 5.47am, I was confident.the weather would clear for me. 

I arrived at Nobbys 5am & was greeted by persistent showers, not only that, but the ENE wind was blowing quite steady around 24kp/h. Not cold, but not pleasant either. What was even worse, the dawn was breaking flat & grey, there was going to be no spectacular sunrise today. Even the seagulls looked disappointed as they looked forlornly out to sea!

At this point I nearly threw in the towel, but I decided to travel back into the CBD & have a poke around the deserted city centre & Foreshore precinct.

I'm always amazed by the early morning activity you can find in any city these days & Newcastle is no exception, especially as we are a 24hr working harbour. While I was walking around the nearly deserted streets I watched as the city awoke & prepared itself for the the last day of 2009. Newsagents were collecting the morning editions, council workers were tidying the streets, the crew on the Stockton ferry Hunter, were busy preparing for the first of many runs that it will make today & the buses & trains were also commencing their first commuter runs.

Sometimes it is well worth getting out of your comfort zone, grabbing your camera & seeing what is happening in dawns early light. You may be surprised!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Before The Drought

Sometimes it's hard to remember that there was was a time when Australia wasn't in drought, when rain fell at regular intervals & the country side around the Hunter Valley, could at times, rival the verdant lushness of the Emerald Isle.

I was reminded of this during last weekends trip to Tamworth, a trip that bought home the stark reality that a lot of country is once again gripped in another vicious drought. Instead of lush fields & full dams the countryside was brown, dry & the dams were just heat cracked depressions in lifeless paddocks. As you moved through coal fields north of Maitland the countryside looked worse, with enormous open cut coal mines scouring the once productive farmland & air hazy from the rising coal dust suspended in the rising heat.

So with this in mind I went back into my old collection of photographs & located a sample that highlights the beauty of the area when rainfall was sufficient enough keep the dams full & the fields lush. The views are from the Bulahdelah & Gresford districts & were taken around 2006 -07, before the current drought wreaked its terrible vengeance.

I do hope to get up into the country in the near future to secure a photographic record of how droughts can wreak terrible damage on our wonderful country. 


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lunch Breaks

I haven't been out with my Canon 400D for a while due to work & family commitments, however, I've still been taking pictures using my Nokia mobile phone with its 2 mega pixel camera. This little camera isn't ideal, but if that's all you have, well like I said in a previous post, sometimes you just have to work with the tools you 'got'.

Lately I've been photographing where I have my lunch & being a truck driver, those places can be many & varied. Depending on what duty I'm on, I can be down on the coast at Swansea, enjoying the vistas presented in the Cessnock vineyards, sitting by the lake at Warners Bay, lazing under a jacaranda tree at Walka, taking in the buzz at Maitland Mall, or even as I did yesterday, having my lunch in the dry dusty conditions in drought savaged Tamworth. I'm very appreciative of the opportunities I have at work of being able to get outside & have my lunch in some of NSW's best scenic locations & not stuck in an office eating a stale vegemite sandwich!

Just like the song -

Oh, give me land, lots of land under sunny skies,
Don't fence me in
Let me drive through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.

Yes I did play around with the lyrics to suit, but the song does suit my mood when I sit in a nice shady spot with my picnic lunch, a good book & of course, my camera.

Bon Appetite