Monday, October 1, 2012

Cabramatta Revisited

It is our second excursion to Cabramatta.  We are here as part of my Camera Craft 3 class and expected to improve on the photographs taken during our scouting mission a couple of weeks ago.  I have decided to take a shot at Environmental Portraiture. 

Environmental Portraiture captures a subject in his/her environment and the environment conveys a story about the person being photographed.  This is an ideal medium to convey lots of information with one picture.  I usually prefer close up portraiture…so this will once again be a little outside my comfort zone.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in Camera Craft 3 is editing.  In the digital world we have takes hundreds of photographs in a couple of hours…so distilling the chaff from the grain is a time consuming process that is difficult especially when it is your own work.  However, it is vital to be able to do this well…so you don’t bore your audience or spoil the impact of your work with mediocre photographs. Seeing patterns emerge in the collection is also an art that Steven my teacher has opened my eyes too.

I had picked out three themes in my collection but it was from the third assortment of photographs that Steven picked out the fact I had unknowingly photographed many people who seemed to be isolated….alone amidst the busyness of Cabramatta.  Street photography is quite challenging for me as I find it hard to find order in chaos.  Somehow…I had picked up a theme…

Perhaps some of my own favourites are what I call my Men at Work series.  They span the full range of ages from very young toddlers to that of grown men…and showcase the men of Cabramatta in various stages of their lives!

You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Nelson Mandela

A drive down to Wollongong...

It has been awhile since we had both been down the Grand Pacific Drive to Wollongong…so after one of my classes at Paddington a few weeks back we decided to drive south. 

We took the scenic route through the Royal National Park… the world’s second oldest National Park having been set up in the late 1800’s after Yellowstone NP in the US.  The park has wonderful walking trails, bike trails, picnic spots and amazing coastal scenery.  We stopped to stretch our legs and enjoy the park before continuing our journey south.   

2012 08 Wollongong

I love dramatic coastal drives and the Sea Cliff Bridge, a $52 million cantilever bridge that connects the coastal town of Coalcliff and Clifton certainly rates up there.  We parked at a pull out and take a walk along the walkway to enjoy the scenery and the spectacular views.  This bridge replaced a section of Lawrence Hargrave Drive that had been subject to numerous rock falls.   

My eye was drawn to the lone fisherman out on the rock pools and I wished I had a better telephoto to capture what would have been quite a stunning photograph..if only I had been closer.  On our walk back I notice the padlocks on the handrail.  It was only later I find out they are love padlocks attribute to a tradition that started in Europe around World War II.  They are affixed to the bridge by sweethearts as a gesture of their everlasting love.  I am a little taken aback by the fact that people feel they must lock up their love to protect it!


If we take a survey of the greatest actions…in the world…we shall find the authors of them all to have been persons whose Brains had been shaken out of their natural position. John Adams

Luna Park

There aren’t too many parks in the world with buildings that are heritage listed but Sydney’ Luna Park is one of them!  The park built in the 1930’s at the foot of the harbour bridge is also in what must be one of the prime locations in the world. 2012 09 Luna Park

Photographing an icon is usually best avoided.  It is very hard to look at something that has been done so many times before with fresh eyes.  But it isn’t really the bridge or even Luna Park that has brought us to Milson’s Point.  We have come here to meet up with Shane, my travel agent who now works in Kirribilli and who was instrumental in booking my trip around the world.  I haven’t seen Shane since I left on my travels in April 2010….so it is fun to catch up and reminisce with someone who knew the details of my trip, almost as intimately as I did.  We are here to collect our travel documents for our next adventure…Sri Lanka and India!  I haven’t been overseas since I came back and although this is only a small break in comparison…I am excited by the sense of anticipation…the taste of a new adventure almost tangible once more.

We wander around taking photos, enjoying the warm spring day before we head back up the road to a bustling Thai restaurant for some fresh seafood in a part of town we don’t usually find ourselves…


“There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterward, when you've worked on your own corner”.   Aldous Huxley

Our Sustainability Journey…..

It’s Spring Time in Sydney and my garden is ablaze with colour.  After what seems like an incredibly long winter, the weather is finally getting warmer.  We didn’t really experience much hot weather last year…so we are all anxiously awaiting that time when we can sit outside to enjoy the balmy evenings and sip a cold drink while the men cook up a mean feast on the barbie Smile 2012 10 Sustainable Garden2










This year we have been slowly working toward converting our house to one that is more sustainable.  Some years back the lawns were converted to mulch and planted with natives which are now thriving but it is _MG_2627now time to take the next step.  A few months back our hot water heater literally blew its top, and we had a rather rude awakening at 2 am when our fire alarm was set off by the smoke that filled up the downstairs area.  Always willing to look on the bright side, we realised that it seemed like an opportune time to replace the old system with solar hot water.  While we were at it, we decided to go the whole hog and install photovoltaics that would also convert the sunlight to electricity and give us solar power!

In Australia, it makes good sense to use solar power for your hot water and energy. Using the abundantly available solar energy to heat your water and make electricity means not only do you save on energy bills you reduce your personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions thus reducing your carbon footprint.  I was pleased to find out that we had already saved $250 in our first bill..and energy costs will only keep rising.

This spring we have also started to build a few no-dig gardens.  After a bit of research  and chats around the traps at work (thanks Scott) we discovered that the best solution to building a no-dig garden was to buy a DIY kit from Aldi.  The 1.2m x 1.2m garden bed is about 0.4m high and perfect for the space that we have. We plan to install about 3 of these garden beds this year in the hope that  in a few months time we will be harvesting tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, salad leaves, spinach and a variety of herbs.   Little seedlings are already emerging and it is exciting to watch them grow…

Earlier this winter we also planted a variety of fruit trees in amongst our native plants and they have already started to bear fruit although I am not sure if this first years crop will be that good as the trees are still very young.  We have a variety of citrus plants (lemons, mandarins and grape fruit) which are ideal for this part of Northern Sydney as well as nectarines and figs.  Unfortunately, we don’t get enough frost for apples and cherries and we are just not tropical enough for the mangoes and papayas.  Our passion fruit plant has been the first we might give that another go!

2012 10 Sustainable Garden1











As part of this journey we have also installed a worm farm for all our organic waste.  The ‘can of worms’ is easy to install and comes with a package of 1500 worms to help you get started.  The worms are still babies and seem to take awhile to get through the food, so we have also decided to start a separate compost bin which will make sure our red bin has minimal waste…ensuring we are well on our way to becoming a zero waste household. 

The next step is to install a rain water tank with a fully functioning irrigation system that will take care of the watering when we are not home.  We are in the process of getting some quotes and deciding if we should also plumb it back into the house….stay tuned.


The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.  Paul Hawken