Sunday, August 5, 2012

The colors of winter -- Aussie style -- 2012













click to see all images at large size

As promised, a selection of the images from the overnight trip Dave and I took to Milang last week. Indulging my other art form again, before I'm back in a day or two with some art and writing. 

How can you tell it's winter? All those yellow flowers! They're known locally as "sour sobs," and they're actually a pest. They're pretty, but they suck water out of the soil and evaporate it away through their massive greenery, which means the soil is dehydrated, going into spring. This wouldn't be too bad, if this country continued to get plenty of rain through the springtime, but we usually don't. We rarely get what you'd call "plenty" of rain, and in a normal season, by October it can be very dry indeed...

This year could be the exception. The lowlands, around the lakes district, was full of standing water, and the level in the lake itself -- Lake Alexandrina -- was higher than we've ever seen it. Locals told us there had been flooding, and a couple of the houses close to the lakefront itself were still sandbagged. So, I guess this year the sour sobs won't do much harm! As we left the lakes district, headed back to town, the next weather front was just arriving and the forecast for this week is for more rain. Lots more. 

(And I know, before anyone says anything ... we're spoiled rotten. This is the middle of winter? Uh huh. We're wusses.  What can I tell you? It's true.) 

We went to the wetlands hoping for waterbirds galore, and weren't disappointed. Alas, most birds are too far off to photograph well, even with 12MP and a 30x optical zoom, which is equivalent to something like 730mm in the old lenses we used with the SLR cameras. I would love to be able to photograph birds in the wild, but you'd need at least 1000mm. (Now, with a 50x optical zoom and 20MP, you'd be in with half a chance. I wonder what they cost??? Note to self: find out.) These are quite good bird pictures, but ... the ones I'd have been able to capture if I'd had longer reach!

After dark, those wetlands are loud with frogs. There are three different kinds in there (the spotted grass frog, the "banjo" frog, and one other kind which escapes me at the moment), and although they're quite active in daylight, they seem to go hyper after dark. We had dinner at the Milang Pier Hotel, and on the walk back to the park on the lake, where we were staying, it was amazing ... the air seemed to be popping and crackling with the calls of about a million frogs -- of which, we never saw even one.

The next opportunity to take the cameras on a outing will be a couple of weeks from now -- Loftia Gardens, high in the hills. I'm trying to work out if the magnolias will be in bloom, but I think it'll be a leeetle early for them ... Magnolias at the end of September and rhododendrons in November, is it? We'll find out!

Jade, August 6

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