Darwin

Well after 4300km Rosie is ready to rest up for a bit, so we are stopping in Darwin for a few weeks.

We are camped up on families block and loving being part of the family and getting to spend time with the kids again.

farmyard

cow, goat and kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night was Friday 13th and a full moon. When this happens it is said to be a Strawberry Moon, so needless to say I had to have a photo.

full moon darwin

full moon 13th Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I created this image by setting up my tripod, setting the camera to 8 sec at f5.6 and then used my timer function set to 2 sec as my remote shutter release is broken. Once the shutter opened I then used my head torch to paint with light over the bushes in the front of the image so that you could see them.

Yesterday we visited the national park in Howard Springs. It is great, lots to do, but you need to have long clothes and lots of mossie spray if you want to do the monsoon walk, so we left that for another day.

We decided to visit Crocodylus while we were here, this is a crocodile park with a zoo. I loved seeing all the animals but was very saddened to see the animals held in small enclosures. It is like we had stepped back in time to when people thought it was okay to keep animals in cramped unnatural environments.

above and below the water

crocodiles eye out of water

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got some great photos of the lioness while we were there. The trick to photographing through glass or wire is to get as close to the glass or wire as you can and then focus on the animal in the enclosure. This throws the glass or wire out of focus and it doesn’t show in the image. It is also best to use a shallow depth of field, an f2.8 or f4 as this will allow you to throw the background out of focus so that you don’t see the back of the enclosure.

lioness looking at me

She’s watching you

Bored

Lioness yawning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While here I also visited Kakadu, to read about the trip go to http://www.juliaharwood.com/kakadu/

We also visited Berry Springs Nature Reserve which has a huge hot pools area. It is only body temp, so not hot but very pleasant, although it is quite deep so I recommend you take a noodle or other flotation device so that you can really enjoy it. they also have a grassed area, bar-b-que’s and a small shop.

waterfall berry springs

waterfall at Berry spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited the territory Wildlife Park which is a bit further along the same road and this is a wildlife park I would totally recommend, not only are the enclosures more what you would expect of our modern age, they even had a train that picks you up and drops off at each exhibit. They have a great playground and a cafe.

We got to see a great bird of prey show. As well as walk through an aviary in a monsoon forest and see a crocodile and other marine life in the aquarium.

NT Wildlife park

Owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent lots of time with our Niece and Nephew and their children and extended family, it was a great time of getting to know the kids better and spending time with everyone.

They have Territory Day on the 1st July and this is the one day that it is legal to buy and set off fireworks, we had a big fireworks display with only a few duds and a couple falling over and causing some serious ducking and diving.

fireworks territory day 2

Territory day

Fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darwin is a great place to spend time in the dry season, in the wet it is very humid and not what I would like. Busselton in Summer and North in winter is definitely the way to go if you have the choice.

 

 

 

 

Mindil Beach Markets

Everyone who has ever lived in or visited Darwin will tell you you have to go to Mindil Markets at least once.

These Markets are an icon in Darwin, they are on Thursday night and Sunday night each week. They are traditional markets, plus fantastic live entertainment and a sunset to die for on the beach.

They start around 4pm. The trick is to get there early or you will have a long walk from where you park.

Once you arrive, it is time to wander around and look at all the colorful and varied stalls. Then as Sunset approaches you walk to the beach and join the 100s of people also on the beach. They often have life saving rescue boat racing and then it’s time to sit and watch as the sun slowly sinks into the horizon and the sky changes from a blue to a beautiful pink and then to the blue of twilight.

The night we were there, there had been some smoke in the air and so the sky became a beautiful pink and the sun was a blood red orb hanging in the sky.

Mindil-markets-sunset-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sun had set the sky got more and more red and this is where the photo tip comes in, never leave home without your tripod. I was unable to capture the beautiful sky as I had left my tripod behind. To successfully capture the afterglow or any long exposure you need to use a tripod. Some cameras handle high ISO better than others, so you may be able to increase the ISO until you get the shot, unfortunately this creates a lot of noise in the image, especially in the sky and seeing that is what the photo is about we want it as clear as possible.

There are some software products that help us deal with noise in Post Processing. The best I have found is Topaz Denoise. Go here to see the full range http://www.topazlabs.com/911.html                                                                                         I often get discounts for these products so email me if you are interested.

After the sun had dropped below the horizon I turned and walked back up the beach and there was an aboriginal man using tapping sticks sitting on the sand and there was a little white baby crawling towards him. It was a precious moment as the baby showed that there is no discrimination until it is taught. He was totally mesmerized by the tapping sticks, crawling up onto his lap. It was a beautiful moment.

bridging-the-gap

Bridgint the gap

two-cultures-meet

Two cultures meet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after the sunset we sat and enjoyed some great entertainment, there was a man with a whip doing tricks and a couple who did acrobatics and juggling. It was a great night.

 

Rosie 4

We stopped in at Halls Creek, topped up the fuel at $1:97, glad we didn’t need to fill up. We met some people here who are also heading for Darwin, they work at the. Motor racing for the Red Bull team, setting up and selling merchandise. We had a coffee and a yarn and then hit the road again. I have rung ahead and booked into Katherine on Monday so that we can have a few days by the hot springs before heading into Darwin. It is another beautiful sunny day but there is quite a breeze which is nice for keeping us cool, but not good for fuel economy. We stopped at Warmman, the old Turkey Creek and caught up with Anne and John from this morning, they are stopping a few days in Kununnura, but we are pushing on. Most of the creeks we are crossing still have some water in them and the bush is quite green, this is unusual and would be from the late rains they got a few weeks ago. The breeze has dropped off a bit and it is getting quite warm. We just passed some wild horses on the side of the road, the first I have seen in 5 years, but I was too slow getting the camera out and we were past them. One of the joys of traveling with a truckie, they hate stopping unless they have to. Well we made it into. Kununurra, even had time to grab some supplies, fueled up, topped up the water, camped out and then back on the road again. Kununuura has a large indigenous population which gives it a real outback feel. There are black red tail cockatoos in the Main Street where they love the seeds on the trees. We saw the sun beginning to set over the sleeping Buddha. I love the outback skies, the sky goes red and yellow at the horizon and the rest of the sky takes on a purple hue. When you see a sunset like this you know you are up in the Kimberley, a typical desert sunset. desert sunset NT     Oopps, very squeezy, just entered roadworks and right in the middle of the cutting you meet a 5.2m oversize load. The photo of the rock is out my window, we were over as far as we could go and the other picture is Colin’s side as the truck literally squeezed through. All’s well that ends well.

Over width vehicle

Truck coming towards us

This was the truck with the 5.2 m load, see how much of the road he takes up!

Outside my window

Rock cutting

This is looking out my window.

Holding our breath

Looking out Colin window

This is out Colin’s window.       We were both holding our breathe…well I was anyway. We have just crossed the border, we are now in the Northern Territory where the max speed is 130km/hr for most part and some sections have an open speed limit. We also just went from 8am to 9:30am in a split second. I know time flies, but that’s ridiculous! We decided to camp out just short of Katherine and go in in the morning, so we pulled up at Mathison roadside camp, it was very dry and there had been a fire, so lots of burnt ground, but once we settled in there was a nice breeze and I decided to go and create some photos. I say ‘go and create’ as to look on the surface there was nothing worth photographing. I wandered down the station fence line and was amazed at the termite mounds that had started under the fence, when they reached the barbed wire they just built around it and kept going. Fascinating how they seemed un fazed by the obstacle and just went on is if nothing was there.

barbed wire fence with ant hill

anthill

The other thing that intrigued me was all the different shapes of the anthills, they were like sculptures in a barren land. Then as I looked around. I noticed the green shoots growing on blackened trees, life regenerating itself, like the phenix rising from the flames.

new life

phenix

Photo tip: when you want to accentuate something get in close with a narrow depth of field (f1.4-f4) as this will throw any distractions in the background out of focus and the viewer will be drawn to the object you are highlighting with your focus point. After this I headed back to the bus and we had a nice relaxing avo catching up on the episodes of home and away we had missed:) I didn’t have to do any work as we didn’t have any internet!! We got up the next morning and casually prepared to head into Katherine, we are booked into Riverview which is right at the top of the hot springs, so I am looking forward to going in ASAP. As soon as we got into phone range the phone beeped with a message from the bank saying that a hold had been put on my credit card due to suspected fraudulent activity. So I rang them straight away and they said someone had used the card multiple times at the Ord Co Op for 100s of dollars one after the other……the joys of having duel fuel tanks that hold 200 liters each. We had filled up the bus which is about $600 and so the ‘Eagle’ Anz security had swooped into action and froze the account. We laughed and explained that yes it was us and wasn’t fraudulent and they unblocked the account. Good to see they are on the ball and looking after our security and money. We arrived in at Katherine at 10am and were able to check into the park early, so I left Colin to set up while I went down to the hot pools for a soak. They are so beautiful. katherine hot pool 2014           When I came back, after a shower, we headed into town to MacDonalds for lunch and to try and use some free wifi. The wifi enabled us to download our emails, but was too slow for me to be able to access the photo Dash site, so after an hour of frustration we headed back to the bus so I could set up my personal hotspot and get my work done. We ended up heading to the Barra Cafe for tea. The food was lovely, but what makes the place so special is the murals painted on the walls. It took the artist 9mths to paint it and in each panel she hid a butterfly for you to find. I had great fun taking photos and looking for butterflies. Photo tip: try to look what is in the image that shouldn’t be there and remove it if possible or otherwise crop it out. See the image with Colin in it, you will see the high chairs in the background that take away from the shot.  Normally I would clone this out:)) Of to bed now, night night.

Darwin

bluey waterhole 3

People relaxing in Bluey Waterholes after a day of exploring Litchfield National Park out of Darwin NT

 

Jan

Jan playing peeka boo
I think she misses little Mick:)

Darwin Wharf

This is where a lot of the cruise ships leave from

Monte Dwyer reading to Jan

Monte Dwyer reading to Jan

We have arrived in Darwin after our lovely 2 days in Katherine and have met up with our friends, Chris and Jan. The weather is 32 degrees Celsius. The pool is much used and a welcome relief from the heat.  We even had our own private reading by author and TV journalist Monte Dwyer.

We have been to the parquet markets and explored the City of Darwin.

darwin sunset 2013

We had tea at the Darwin Sailing Club and were treated to this beautiful sunset

Colin at Bluey Falls

Colin having a break and taking in the ambience of Bluey Pools, Litchfield, NT

We joined Chris and Jan at Litchfield for a day and spent time at our Niece and Nephews place at Acacia Hills. A great time was had by all.

Camp at dawn

Dawn over The Bus

Bluey waterhole 4

Small waterfall at the bluey waterholes just outside Darwin in Litchfield National Park, NT, Australia

 

Litchfield is still my favourite place in the NT and the second best place in Australia. Karajini is my No 1.

 

We also went to the waterfront and saw the great wave pool and swimming area they have there, we visited the WW11 Tunnels and meuseums. It is amazing how much we are not taught about the history of our own country, the bombings started in 1942 and didn’t stop till 1945.

We visited the Mindill Markets twice, brought some nice summer clothing and sampled some food and enjoyed the entertainment.

The second time we were treated to a magnificent sunset.

We got to meet lots of the V8 race drivers as they prepared to race at Hidden Valley. Mainly Ford drivers and Colin got a pic with Mark Winterbottom and had a 15 minute chat with him.

We stayed for quite a while at Bekky and Michael’s, our neice and nephews with their three children, Aunty and Uncle, and Lena. It was lots of fun, no TV so games of greed, scrabble and bananagrams in between Word Whopp and scatagories tournaments.

There are horses, goats,dogs, a cat, chickens and ducks, so lots of chores to be done, but also a great pool to cool off in. The best part for Colin was that he didn’t have to cook. We had our meals with the family, so Col got to have a real break.

He earn’t his keep though, doing firebreaks, looking at cars and tractors and generally helping out.

I was in charge of the kids in the pool. I think I got the best deal.

I had a nasty fall at Fortescue Falls and hurt my hand and ruined my camera, so I have been very limited with photo ops. The iphone is getting a real test as my main camera and my hand is still not good, so am using it as little as possible.

The good thing about that is that it has taken all the pressure off me. I can just enjoy the moment with out having to capture every detail.

 

We have been out of internet range for almost a month and it was a pleasant break form modern society, however my son got engaged and it took two days for him to get hold of me!!!

It shows how dependent we are on modern communication. It was with great excitement that we received the news as our sons partner is a lovely girl who we are very happy to welcome to the family.

We are now in Katherine having left Darwin very reluctantly, but are looking forward to some time in the thermal pools here. They are warm and healing, so hopefully will also help my hand a bit.

We have joined back up with Chris and Jan and are looking forward to exploring the area.