Thursday, March 29, 2012

The camera's eye-view

click to see images at large size...

Digging my way out from under the blizzard of work -- more images from or road trip, to take up the slack while I chisel away at the job. I'm packaging More Than Human at this time ... just giving myself a break before I go back to the work. The next thing I need to do is build the book's webpages, and I'll have a live link for you very soon. Till then ...

Top pic: The Great Ocean Road. See it on a map, and it looks like it's about a hundred kilometers long, and I guess the road itself is, but the section of it that actually sits right on the coast and affords overlooks and viewing platforms for the great iconic sights is only about 32k. However, on that 32k, something amazing happens about every 300m down the road, and you'd need all day to see the lot, so it's probably a good thing the whole Great Ocean Road isn't like this! The rest is a scenic drive through Victoria's rural countryside -- mostly dairy, some sheep, very pretty in its own right.

Pic #2: a kind of cormorant, sunning himself (herself?) on the rocks at Beachport -- back on the South Australian side of the border. In this neck of the woods I've seen at least three different kinds of cormorants in all kinds of water, fresh and salt, lakes, rivers and the ocean. 

Pic #3: pine plantation at Tantanoola ... yes, Virginia, there really is a place called Tantanoola. They have a fantastic limestone cavern (pics 7 and 8), a pine plantation where the air smells like wilderness Canada or Alaska, a pub called the Tantanoola Tiger Hotel (not named after a real tiger) ... and a football club, the (!) Tantatoola Tigers, which are more likely to be named for the pub than for the creature of local legend that wasn't a tiger at all. The pine plantations straddle the border and spread on and on into Victoria; crest a ridge in the road, and all you can see is pine forest, to the horizon. Stop the car for a while and take a deep breath. Ahhhhh. 

Pic #4: There's three flightseeing companies running fleets of these helicopters from fields within 20k of the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. They're small, zippy, noisy, and I suspect that if you wanted to get a ride (expensive!) you'd have to book weeks in advance. You would not believe the crowds at the 12 Apostles! It looked like the footy finals ... you were literally shoulder to shoulder in places (in the middle of the wilderness, no less), waiting to get a chance to get your photos ... and these red choppers were thundering around the whole time. All part of the experience, I know. 

Pic #5: Mount Gambier's Old Town Hall, in the heart of downtown. "Downtown" is where retail meets local government meets the Cave Gardens sinkhole, which is right behind the town hall. At 9:30 each night, they illuminate the sunken garden and run a silent movie, historic footage of the region, projected on the wall of the town hall. Actually, it was quite good, but not quite as good as the movie footage of erupting volcanoes and cave diving they project on screens in the huge windows of the town hall!The town is built on and around an extinct volcano -- it's 4,500 years since it erupted, and the cater is now a bunch of lakes, one of which is the Blue Lake itself (see yesterday's post).

Pic #6: charge! Young herefords on the hoof in a paddock under Mount Schank, another extinct volcano ... and if you turn around and look in the other direction, you see the deep, green sinkhole that's set up for swimming, which you saw in yesterday's post. Mt. Schank is just out of the frame in this image, but I did photograph it, and you'll see it before this blog reverts to artwork!

Pics #7 and #8: Tantanoola limestone cavern. What more can you say? It was fantastic ... you kept looking for the dragon that was guarding the treasure. Smaug had to be around there somewhere.

Pic #9: Another frame from the sunset I photographed ... from a car moving at about 110kph, incidentally. We were on the road back to camp after spending way too long photographing falling cliffs from one end of the Great Ocean Road's actual oceanic bit to the other. And --

Pic #10: The 12 Apostles, the iconic site itself. To get this, I'm hanging over a railing, trying not to get stampeded by about 1,000 tourists from every part of Asia, plus France, Germany and Canada -- I was listening to accents and languages, and heard Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, plus the few from Europe. We were the only ones talking English, with the exception of one Canadan group, and one English group. The helicopters were thundering in every direction ... I wondered what it would be like to visit this site in the early morning, before the tourists get there, when the parking lot is EMPTY, and the helicopters are all on the ground. Maybe next time...!

More tomorrow...

Jade, March 30

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