: : wildlife photography through the lens of an animator : :

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ten years of infrequent blogging

G'day! Couldn't resist to start with one more photo of Sammy, the New Zealand Fur Seal.
He has fattened up and is ready for the summer. This pic marks the first time he actually looked straight into the camera!

above: Superb Blue Wren, Tasmania

Ten years ago, in October of 2007, I started this blog.
I had just bought a 30D in September and after some research, chose Blogger over Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket or whatever other options to share photos online were available at the time.

After all these years, it proved to have been the right decision for me. The platform had a clearly defined face; it was not masquerading as something else and my commitment to frequent blogging in the early days, literally saved me from the treacherous waters of ever having a Facebook account. At the time no one really suspected anything about the total surveillance programs, the constant monitoring and social engineering that were going on. People just got hooked and by the time it all became known they had already become addicts and had given away huge amounts of personal information - everyone was willingly writing their own dossier.

Blogger, at the time, was intended to be a public outlet and I have always treated it as such. In 2007 it was clear that web history was recorded and when you posted something with your real name, this would be available to everyone who searches for you online in the future.
It was totally accidental, but I'm grateful to Blogger for saving me from the social media degeneracy.
I had lived long enough during the last years of communism in Eastern Europe to know well how the omnipresent reporting, data collection and the dossiers that everyone had, impacted society, self-censorship and freedom of expression, personal relationships and the daily lives of all people not only during those dark years, but also for blackmail and control decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

above: Bennett's Wallaby Joey, Tasmania

In 2007 I was living in the same area of Sandy Bay, and had just discovered Tasmania and was falling in love with it. My fascination with the wildlife and the scenery was complimented by the beauty of Hobart and the unbelievable openness and genuineness of its people. At the time it was so puzzling, it took me many years to realise it was how 'home' should feel and it is how cohesive non-fractured societies are. I'd never experienced that before.
Ten years later the multi-cultural wind of destruction is starting to be felt here, and, of course, Tassie will not be spared, but it will take some more time before we see the Melbourne-Sydney-Western-European levels of decay and disconnect.

My work environment in 2007-2009 was the only thing in sharp contrast with the beauty of Hobart. In my (so far) 25-year animation career, the small studio which had hired me to lead their character design team tops the list of the most paranoid, unpleasant work environment on 3 continents that I have seen. But still I'm somehow grateful to them, because I only came here for the job and would have not 'discovered' Hobart otherwise.

above: Eastern Rosella, Tasmania

Two years later, in 2009, I had to go back to Sydney as there was no more work for me here and it took me years to find a way to organise life and come back. Have been re-living the Hobart dream for nearly 3 years now and every time I go out and see the water, the mountain, the cormorants or the parrots, I smile and feel the happiest person in the world. I am where I should be and will be coming back if circumstances force me to leave once more.

Back in 2007-2009 I often felt like a hostage - had to put up with the toxic work environment to be able to stay and live here. When I look back at that time, I'm starting to think that the energy I put into this bloG was a way to shift focus and switch off completely the moment I stepped out of the studio.
I love how memory mostly keeps the good things though. Looking back at the posts from those times, makes me remember the climbs and bushwalks with vivid details as if that happened only yesterday. I used to love the daily interaction with the few blog buddies from all over Australia, and even one from the US. It was a cosy little virtual community of shared values and interests.

I have recently found out that Denis Wilson, my blog friend at The Nature of Robertson has passed away last year. It is sad. He was a good man, passionate about wildlife, who loved nature and knew a lot. I often think of him.

I hope that all other blog friends who used to frequently comment are well and healthy!
I often think of you, guys and gals! Haven't been checking your blogs, just to preserve those memories the way they are a little longer.

above: Short-beaked Echidna, Tasmania

My 10-year-old 30D was already an old model in 2007. It still works well and I cannot justify spending thousands on a new body before it dies. Its 8-megapixel sensor sounds like a joke today. I know how much the technology has advanced, esp. in the high-ISO area and often wish I could record short videos too, but this will have to wait.
I did, however, buy a better lens a few years ago and that made taking photos more enjoyable and the success rate higher.

I still boycott everything Japanese, because of the continued whale slaughter in the Antarctic. The only exception are my Canon body and lenses, due to the complete lack of alternatives.
For years I used to support financially the Sea Shepherd, but since they gave up on their Southern whale defence campaigns, I have decided to stop my donations. I still think they are an efficient organisation in one way or another and I know they have reasons for their decision, but 'reasons' cannot help the whales.

above: Peacock in Launceston's Cataract Gorge

I am disgusted by the hypocrisy of the Australian Greens and their continuous promotion of wind farms and the so-called clean energy.
These virtue-signalling communists turn a blind eye to the bird and bat slaughter and are instrumental in the ongoing deception of the general public about the devastating environmental impact of wind farms. The Green movement worldwide has been infiltrated, hijacked and destroyed from within by Marxist activists.

If any of my readers are interested to learn about the deadly effects of wind turbines, here are three articles that I have bookmarked over the years. I'm sure there are many more, but this information, unfortunately, never makes it to the mainstream as it is not as feel-good as the constant Green squawking of the renewable energy mantra.

Wind farms vs. wildlife
Wind farms: a slaughter kept hidden from the public
Are wind turbines killing whales?

It is amazing how many people who actually care about conservation are completely unaware of the death toll and the horrific impact those wind turbines have all over the world. With Greens complicit to the scam, all we can do is tell our friends, it seems.

above: Peacock chick, trying to swallow a dead Cicada, Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

For this anniversary post I chose some, more or less, random photos taken in the last year or so. There are thousands and probably some are better than these; there are some of birds or animals that I have not posted here even once before, but I wanted to only post 10 and these were the first 10 that could make it to the upload folder.

Blogger's interface has changed so much since I stopped using it actively, I struggle to find my way around. Picasa is now gone and every time I open the dashboard, it looks different. Very uninviting to an old user.

above: Baby Black Currawong, Tasmania

It's spring in Hobart. Through the window I can see a mixed flock of small birds foraging in the freshly green shrubs - Thornbills, Silvereyes, Sparrows, New Holland Honeyeaters. I can hear the Wattlebirds, the Blackbirds, the Starlings, the tree frogs at night. There are white Cockatoos, Green Rosellas, Galahs and Corellas in the area almost every day; the large Kelp Gulls soar high in the sky and call.

A friend who lives in New York recently wrote to me that he wanted to take some bird photos to send me with his email, but it wasn't that easy to find birds in NYC. What a different world! If outside in Hobart, during the day at any given moment one can rarely see fewer than 10 birds - without any other effort than looking around.

above: Mother and Joey Bennett's Wallaby, Tasmania

Ten years is a long time. Being so busy makes time pass very quickly. The experience is subjective, of course, but the sense of speeding up has increased recently.
I think that I have improved a bit as a photographer, but not too much. I seem to have gotten a little better at self-restraint, pressing the shutter button less often.

I wanted to mark the occasion with a slightly longer post and a few photos, and since I doubt that I will post again soon, I'd like to wish all readers and blog friends all the best for the year to come.

As the idiotic PC censors are trying now to ban public Christmas celebrations, this life-long atheist would like to wish you all (very loudly) a very Merry Christmas!

above: Musk Lorikeet, Tasmania 

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Monday, July 31, 2017

A spherical impression of Hobart's Constitution Dock as reflected in the crystal-clear water, bent by the nose of a seal

This is a pretty rare capture. That day, 10 March 2017, the water was very clear and the camera could actually focus through the surface. Taken at 1/500 it is a part of a sequence that followed the seal from about 1.5m deep till he popped out in a spray of water droplets, breathed noisily out and in and made some ripples and splashes.

Here the water tension keeps surface flexible to a point and just as a spherical mirror, it reflects and distorts the surrounding buildings of Constitution Dock and Mako fish punt. The water is bent from underneath by the local celebrity, Sammy.
New Zealand Fur Seal, Tasmania
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I had entered this photo into a local 'science photography' competition, but withdrew it today.
I have no other way to announce this withdrawal, but to publish a statement on my bloG.
The reason for withdrawal is that I believe the organisers (initially unintentionally) violated their own terms of participation, accepting an entry from another photographer, which did not qualify, but refused to act upon this violation when I pointed out the case to them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sammy - the beautiful, friendly seal who often visits Hobart's waterfront

I have been thinking of posting some photos of Sammy, just to fill a void. Although he is so popular with tourists and locals, Google image searches find only mediocre pictures and very few of them.

Sammy is a star. A very photogenic star who deserves better online presence.
So I decided to do a one off, break the silence and share some of my hundreds of photos of him with all the seal lovers, shooting with their smartphone cameras and then feeling frustrated that "It just looked so much better there!".

I've been photographing Sammy fairly regularly in the last 15 months, whenever I get a chance to spot him. Unfortunately don't have any photos of him from the time of my first Hobart period, 10 years ago. There was a whole year when I did not have any camera at the time and then when I bought my 30D, he was gone. Then I had to go too.

I always wonder if he is the same seal. And when I think about it, I always decide he is, because it is such a complicated route up the estuary and he is so incredibly relaxed and comfortable in the waters of Constitution Dock.
I love the huge range of facial expressions he has - the curiosity and intelligence in his eyes.

But make no mistake! Sammy is there for the free lunch and does not really care about anything else. I've tried to make noises to attract his attention. No chance. He is hypnotized by the guy with the long ginger beard who cleans fish and gives him treats. That's why most photos are in profile.

There is another thing that I am not quite certain about. After much reading and looking at images, I think that he is a New Zealand Fur Seal, rather than an Australian Fur Seal, but I can't be 100% sure. If anyone can help me with the ID, please post in the comments.
New Zealand Fur Seal, Tasmania
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior in Hobart

It is this time of the year again. The barbaric Japanese are on their way to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to butcher whales in breach of the ruling of the International Court of Justice.
The Sea Shepherd is the only organisation who is again willing to defend the whales standing between them and the harpoon ships.
This year their fast, modern and well-equipped Ocean Warrior will be a part of the campaign as well as the Steve Irwin.

As always I made a small donation and went to the docks to photograph the ship and wish the brave crew success and good luck.
MV Ocean Warrior in Hobart, 3 Dec 2016
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This bloG is dead

This bloG is dead.
It's amazing how things one has considered valuable can appear completely pointless after a few years. 
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zoo photos


On 25 March my ex-wife, Maria, and I marked 10 years since we landed in Sydney with two backpacks and the money to buy one decent DSLR body with a couple of lenses.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Ibis were friendlier than the people and greeted us with 'Good morning'.

These 10 years were hard. There were many changes and huge disappointments.
The one thing that has not changed at all is our fascination with the Australian wildlife.

To celebrate our 10-th anniversary in this country we went to a small zoo which we once visited in 2003 – Koala Park Sanctuary in Pennant Hills, NSW.

Zoos always make me very sad... but this one is kind of OK.
I usually don't go to zoos and this is the first time when I'm publishing zoo photos on the pages of this bloG. I thought that the photos turned up quite nice and with the wild Koalas quickly losing habitat it is very likely that I'll never get a chance to photograph one in its natural environment.


Koalas and Easren Grey Kangaroo in Koala Park Sanctuary, NSW
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Koelies

I haven't photographed Koel chicks before, so this was kind of exciting. There were 3 of them in a couple of fig trees in a suburban park, fed by Little Wattlebird foster parents. The male Koel was calling from a nearby tree.
Asutralian Koel Chicks, NSW
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Monday, June 25, 2012

About the ruthless eviction of the Sydney Flying Foxes (again)

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While trying to find more information on the bat eviction, I came across a great article called The Peril and Beauty of Flying Fox Life in the Time of Extinction by Deborah Bird Rose.

The text casts light over the situation of the four Flying Fox species in Australia and is accompanied by great video footage.

I'm reposting the third segment of a documentary called Following Flying Foxes – the segment that features the now non-existent bat colony in Sydney Botanic gardens.

Video credits: Natasha Fijn & Deborah Bird Rose. Posted with permission. More information about the video is available here.

Recently Deborah has written another emotionally charged article on the topic which is definitely worth the time –
Night falls heavily in Sydney these days.

I have already lived long enough in this country to not be surprised by the atrocities done to the native and introduced animals.

It is very disappointing that the majority of people who consider themselves good are so incredibly passive and ready to accept without questioning everything that they are being fed with by authorities or commercial media.
Most of my friends' (they are my friends, because we share, more or less, similar values) reactions to the news about the dispersal were: "Oh well... This is a controversial issue..." and they repeated what they have heard on the radio or TV. Very disappointing.

In situations like this I can't chase away the feeling that Western democracies are getting weaker and weaker every year with citizens becoming numb, apathetic and brainwashed by consumerism. Isn't that sad?

As the issue is 'controversial' I'm leaving comments under this post open.