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Thursday, 15 November 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 15 November 2018
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Sovereign Hill again
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

Off to Ballarat today to meet CJ Ellis, dressed up in his costume, and visit Sovereign Hill again. Things didn't start off well. When we got there, I discovered that I had no footwear. Never mind, this has happened before; that's why I keep a spare pair of thongs in the back of the car. Dug for them: not there! And while doing so, I managed to turf my camera out of the car and on to the parking lot. Two dropped (same) cameras in less than a week! And this time there was no panorama head to protect it, and it sustained damage:


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The lens was (mercifully) again untouched, the camera still works, and the marks look pretty superficial. The camera still works, but I should really stop dropping the thing.

In to buy tickets, while Yvonne went off looking for footwear for me. It was definitely necessary. There are some places where I can walk barefoot with few problems, but Sovereign Hill is not one of them. By the time Yvonne got back, we hadn't got very far, but I really couldn't continue much further.


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Met Yvonne at the entrance. By the time we got back, CJ was panning for gold for Ruth:


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On up the hill. It's been nearly 10 years since we were last here, and things have changed—for the better. They now have a school, full of schoolchildren. And with CJ dressed the way he was, he was welcomed, and he told a story about wanting a school for his nieces who would shortly arrive by ship from the Old Country:


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On to see CJ's favourites, the old steam machinery:


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By then it was lunch time, and CJ disappeared by himself while we looked round the main street:


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CJ had wanted to take us to see the wheel wrights after lunch, but the girls decided differently and went to see the gold pouring instead, in light that was barely visible. I missed having the right lens with me, and was limited to the Panasonic Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 from my E-PM1:


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It would have been a good use for the barely used M.Zuiko 45 mm f/1.8 or the M.Zuiko 75 mm f/1.8. Next time.

Then down Red Hill Mine and got rather more photos than last time:


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The last image was taken with the E-PM1 at 36°/3200 ISO, clearly more than it can really sustain.

Finally a trooper came along to check the mining licenses. It was a bit tame compared with last time, where Carola was clapped in irons:


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About the only excitement was when one of the volunteers, a somewhat overweight woman, slipped in front of the trooper round about here:


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She confirmed that it wasn't part of the act, and I had to help her up. The trooper then sent her off to have herself looked at, before talking to the others and setting off in pursuit of an errant miner:


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We finally found him in the main street, having grabbed somebody, though it's not clear that they were miners:


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And then we had had enough for the day. We're not as young as we used to be. If it weren't for the high entry fees, it would be nice to spread it over several days. Still, Ruth was very pleasantly surprised; I think she had initially not been very enthusiastic

As we were leaving, CJ asked me how old I was. In principle he knows: 10 years younger than he. But it seems that I'm entitled to a “Pioneer Pass”, a service so secret that I couldn't find any useful reference to it on the web site. It's available to people of the age of 70 or over who live in or near Ballarat (post code areas 3350 to 3358; we're in 3352). And it entitles the bearer to unlimited free entrance to Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum. Filled out the form and was issued immediate access. Now if only he had told me that before we entered!

The good news is, of course, that I can go back and take specific photos whenever I want. That could be quite worthwhile.


Friday, 16 November 2018 Dereel Images for 16 November 2018
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Garden flowers in late spring
Topic: gardening Link here

Middle of November; spring is going by quickly, and it's time for the “flowers in late spring” series.

There's nothing much to see this month. The dead trees are dead, and the others aren't doing that much better, though there are signs that the Paulownia kawakamii might be growing a little faster. Other plants have reacted more obviously to the relatively generous load of fertilizer that I gave them, notably the roses:


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That's all the more interesting because the Tropaeolum in the middle are not flowering particularly strongly, in contrast with the ones in front of the water tank:


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A couple of plants are flowering or coming up to flowering, I think for the first time: the Adenanthos sericeus (“woolly bush”, the small but brilliant Carpobrotus species that flowers all too shortly, and one of many Hebes that seem to be benefiting from the fertilizer:


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And this, I think, is a Artemesia species. But which?


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Bird harassment
Topic: animals Link here

Ruth discovered something interesting this evening:


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A (small) family of Australian wood ducks walking across the paddock, not far from where our pond used to be 4 years ago. I wonder if they were looking for it.

But more importantly, a couple of magpies took exception to their presence. I've seen them chase other animals before, notably foxes, but this is the first time I've seen them chase ducks.


Saturday, 17 November 2018 Dereel → Maits Rest → 12 Apostles → Port Campbell → Dereel Images for 17 November 2018
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Great Ocean Road again
Topic: general, gardening, opinion Link here

Off relatively early this morning with Nikolai and Leonid to visit the Great Ocean Road again. To my surprise, it's only the third time that Yvonne and I have been there together, and the last time was nearly 10 years ago. And in that time the public has not only changed completely, but become much more.

On the way stopped to show Ruth a Callistemon (bottlebrush):


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Further on found a number of purple-flowering bushes:


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Yvonne was rather taken with them, and we broke off a short twig and took it home. To my surprise, it survived, and Yvonne wants to try to propagate it.

First to Mait's Rest, where things were not in as good a state as last time we were there. In particular, I had wanted to take a repeat of this photo:


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The tree (fern) was still there, and possibly a bit bigger, but the whole area was cordoned off because the platform was unsafe.

From there down towards Cape Otway to look for the Koalas that used to be there in great numbers. We found a couple, but nothing like as many as five years ago, and I didn't get much in the way of photos:


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Thence to the Twelve Apostles. Weather was good, but we've seen it before. More panorama attempts, the best of which is this one:


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Yvonne was on a Borzoi sales trip, finding many interested people:


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It seems that dogs aren't allowed there. They go to great lengths to make that clear:


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Where's the “no dogs” sign? It's in the first image:

 
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We missed that one and didn't see anything until we were nearly at the end of the way. Far too late to take the dogs back...

Then on to Port Campbell, where the dogs saw seawater for the first time:


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I get the impression that they're not very interested:


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Definitely a difference from Nemo.

We had the option of continuing to Warrnambool, but the ladies had had enough, so back home after that.


GPS pain, alleviated
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Last year we had a pretty average catastrophe trying to get to Halls Gap with the “aid” of a GPS navigator. Today wasn't as bad: firstly, we knew the way pretty well (though finding Mait's Rest wasn't that obvious), and secondly I had researched the route online with Google Maps and then sent the route to my phone, even being careful enough to test to ensure that it got there.

So when we set off, it was a little surprising to discover that the route wasn't there. I had tested it the first time, but not the second one. So I had to used the first one, which only took me to the Koala place on Cape Otway. And when we got to Colac, my car navigator and my phone disagreed. Ruth fired up hers too so that we could at least get a majority. But my phone came up with all sorts of nonsense, like telling me to turn right where there was absolutely no turnoff, and mentioning road names that didn't exist. My best guess was that it lost signal and was too polite to tell me so. But there's nothing obvious from the track that suggests that:


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On top of that, the damned thing kept beeping at frequent but irregular intervals. If it gave any indication on the display, it was too fast for Yvonne. Why do phones do that? They go to immense lengths to do voice recognition, sometimes successfully. Why can't they do the much simpler task of voice generation to say what they want?


Sunday, 18 November 2018 Dereel Images for 18 November 2018
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The fun of photography
Topic: photography, technology, food and drink, opinion Link here

Spent most of today writing up and processing photos for the past two days, and I still didn't get finished. Once again I ran into issues with panoramas including the sea:


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Maybe I should have taken a fisheye lens with me to get a single photo of the sea to blend into the panorama.

And in the evening Ruth did some cooking. OK, take a photo for souvenir's sake. It's so simple now that we have the flash units in place.

Well, no:

  1. The first time round the flash didn't fire. Dammit, these contacts are really an issue.

  2. The second time round the flash didn't fire. Further checking showed that this was the flash trigger with the on/off switch. Maybe I should leave it on.

  3. The third time round the flash didn't fire. Dammit, these contacts are really an issue.

  4. The fourth time round the flash finally fired. And it was overexposed! I had the thing set to auto-ISO, so modulo noise (39°/6400 ISO), in fact the first three images were almost OK:


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    Only the flash one was hopelessly overexposed.

  5. And then the display on the back of the camera went dead! Instead I got everything only through the viewfinder. Delayed damage from dropping the camera? Took off the viewfinder cup and it worked. Somehow I must have managed to mis-position it in a way that caused the automatic viewfinder switch to trigger. After repositioning it, the camera worked normally.

  6. And later in the evening I decided to take some photos without the kitchen flash—and without checking the exposure. Bad idea:


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  7. That doesn't look that bad, but it's clearly dark despite multiple attempts to recover it.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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