Assistance Dogs Australia Graduation Day Sydney

Assistance dogs Australia is a national charity which trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people with disabilities, providing them with greater freedom and independence.


These photos were taken at this years Sydney Graduation ceremony in Martin Place – where the pups were handed over from their ‘puppy raiser’ to their intended recipient 🙂


What a wonderful event it was. The fabulous Tim McCallum was the MC for the event and sang some beautiful songs that really tied the event together – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – including mine…


Thanks for all you do Assistance Dogs Australia. I LOVE being around the dogs and am so grateful to be a part of your team  

Remember to click on the photo to enlarge it for viewing 🙂

 

It doesn’t get any better than this….Sydney Opera House

Hi everyone,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post. Life has been so, so busy. My husband and I have had a sea change! We’ve moved out of Sydney down to the Illawarra and are living right by the sea!! It is quite simply, the best thing we’ve ever done 🙂

On Tuesday I was up in Sydney conducting a night photography tour and took this black and white photo of the Opera House and city from Kirribilli on the northern side of the Harbour.

I stood and stared at this scene before I took the shot. The Opera House gets me every time – especially at night – it is just such an architectural masterpiece:)

For those of you who are photographers – this shot was taken on my new Canon 5d Mark IV and the 24-105mm L series lens. The settings were ISO 400, F18, 25 sec.

What do you think of the shot in black and white? I’d love to hear your comments below:)

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Until next time,

Chris 🙂

 

Our road trip to Lithgow and Mayfield Garden, Oberon, NSW, Australia

I do love a road trip. Especially when it’s with 3 other photography buddies who love doing what I love doing – taking photos – lots of photos:)

We specifically went to visit the Mayfield Garden in Oberon, NSW Australia. We decided to stay overnight in Lithgow before visiting the gardens and explore the surrounding areas of Sodwalls and Tarana.

The countryside around Lithgow is beautiful. We found old school houses, beautiful flowers, rural scenes, Tarana railway station and even a church. There is something so nourishing about being in the bush and being able to stop whenever you feel like it because you’ve ‘seen’ a photo or a scene that you’d like to explore.

We had such a fun day which was finished off by a visit to the Lithgow blast furnace. The remains of the pump house and furnace foundations gave us plenty of fabulous photographic opportunities. We stayed until the mozzies threatened to carry us off 🙂

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The second day we hit the road early bound for the Mayfield Garden in Oberon.

What a fantastic, well maintained garden paradise this is – I would thoroughly recommend a visit.

The gardens are split up into different themes and all of them are breathtaking. For those that don’t know me, colour and flowers bring me to life…so you could pretty much say I was one very happy photographer!

There were many varieties of beautiful flowers bursting with colour, a lake, waterfalls, bridges and lots of greenery all surrounded by wide open spaces.

We ate lunch at the cafe which had a beautiful atmosphere and delicious food. The vegetables in our zucchini fritters were picked from the Mayfield kitchen garden.

What more could you want?

Thanks to my buddies Judy, Lorraine and Sonia – lets do it again soon 🙂

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Sydney’s forgotten tunnels ~ under St. James station, Sydney

Last weekend I was given the most amazing opportunity – to explore the abandoned tunnels beneath Sydney’s St. James Railway Station.

Every year, as part of ‘Sydney Open’, tours are conducted in these tunnels. There is one catch though – you can’t pay for it – you have to win it – either by a ticket ballot or answering a question on one of Sydney’s radio stations.

I was pretty happy when I received an email saying I’d won a ticket!

So, first of all let me tell you a bit of history about the tunnels – I learnt all of this information from the passionate ‘City Rail Historian’ who conducted our tour.

The extensive network of disused platforms and tunnels {which have always been hidden from the public and never been used} were built in the 1920s for proposed rail lines to the Eastern Suburbs of Bondi and Randwick. The outbreak of World War 11 and the Great Depression meant these plans had to be shelved.

During the war, the tunnels were modified into air raid shelters to be used if the city was ever under attack. They had the capacity to hold up to 20,000 people. The RAAF used the tunnels as their ‘Air Defence Headquarters’, four stories below the streets where they used morse code and studied aviation maps to co-ordinate air traffic and ships.

After the war, the RAAF was asked to bury the shelters. This job was never completed. As the tunnels were constructed from solid earth and meshed concrete – they were incredibly hard to dismantle….Once the order was given to ‘stop work’ the workmen literally downed their tools and walked out.

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We entered the tunnels through a very ordinary looking green door at the end of the platform at St. James Station ~ {think Harry Potter ~ platform 9 3/4 style.}

Immediately I was in photography heaven…I loved the disused platforms…they were completely intact and I thought about the people working on them nearly 100 years ago.

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You all know me, my camera was clicking crazily…..this opportunity doesn’t come along every day:)

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The tiles from the disused tunnels are used to replace broken tiles in the main area of St. James Station.

We then set off through the water into the huge open chambers…it was fabulous ~ walking along in my gumboots, taking shots and hearing all about this ‘other world’ beneath the city.

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The tunnels have had other uses over time ~ scenes from the TV show ‘Police Rescue’ and the film ‘The Matrix’ were filmed down here. City Rail also practise their emergency procedures here and the Army use the tunnels for military exercises.

Even seances were reputedly performed down in these tunnels ~ yes seances….All pretty interesting huh?

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The spot where the sceances are reputedly performed.

During the war, many soldiers who were working in the tunnels, left messages on the walls to their loved ones. Perhaps they weren’t sure if they would see their families and loved ones again or maybe they just wanted to sign their name to remind future generations who they were.

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The best sign of all was the air raid shelter sign ~ ‘PUBLIC AIR RAID SHELTER’ WARNING: NO PERSON IS ALLOWED IN THIS SHELTER EXCEPT DURING AN AIR RAID.

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Something that really amazed me, was the tree roots. They were everywhere. Even thick concrete and solid earth couldn’t stop them. They were growing out of holes in the concrete, snaking their way through the tunnels ~ twisting and turning, searching for water…

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But it was the details I loved the most ~ light battens on the ceiling, light bulbs, buckets and other traces of human life in the tunnels.

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I feel very grateful to have seen this interesting part of underground Sydney.

Thank you to City Rail for such an wonderful, interesting tour…My camera and I won’t forget it 🙂

till next time,

Chris 🙂

P.s. For all the photographers out there…I never used a tripod, I steadied the camera where I could and used extremely high ISO’s to get a decent shutter speed 🙂

Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea

Sydney’s ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ is a huge success every year, and 2016 was no exception.

Entries poured in from across the globe for the right to display artwork along Sydney’s famous Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk.

The crowds were huge and I visited with some friends and, of course my camera 🙂

My goal was to try and photograph the sculptures WITHOUT any people in them ~ very challenging, but I did manage to for quite a few photos.

This years winning entry was ‘Change Ahead’ by Johannes Pannekoek…

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There were plenty of other sculptures to view and enjoy along the sensational coastal walk.

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My favourite was the blue and white child ~ this was a very striking sculpture. She looked and felt very lonely on the clifftop overlooking the sea.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the other sculptures along the walk and finished up having lunch at The Bondi Icebergs Club overlooking the Beach!! Ah Bliss 🙂

Enjoy the photos.

Chris 🙂

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Bowral and the Southern Highlands

You all know how much I love flowers and gardens…well a couple of weeks back we visited Sutton Forest and Bowral in the Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia.

It was a particularly cool day but the gardens didn’t disappoint. First up we visited Red Cow Farm, a beautiful garden with lots of hidden garden rooms, a lake and so many glorious tulips. I took a stack of photos and we enjoyed meandering through the garden.

Our next stop was Milton Park, an amazing estate built at the turn of the 20th century by the Horden Family of retail & pastoral fame.

There are breathtaking views at every turn and the gardens are the most beautiful I have ever seen {seriously.}

I love the sweeping lawns {with grass so soft you could roll around for hours} cobble stone paths, rose gardens, mazes and hundreds and hundreds of flowers. Think tulips, camellias, roses, azaleas…..it is spectacular:)

The gardens of Milton Park have inspired painters and writers since the early 1800’s.

This photographer 🙂 was particularly inspired by the beauty and colour of this magnificent garden.

Enjoy the pics ~ remember to click on one to view them as a slide show.

Happy clicking

Chris 🙂

The Northern Migration – Whale Watching off Sydney Heads

I’ve been really lucky over the past couple of weeks to have been out whale watching from TWICE from Sydney – yes TWICE 🙂

Both days were warm and sunny and we were SO lucky {and grateful} to see some ‘Humpback’ whales heading north during their annual migration.

Each year – around May, Humpback whales leave the cold waters of Antarctica and swim north to the warm tropical waters of Queensland, Australia, to mate and give birth to their young.

They are such amazing creatures…We spotted our first couple of humpbacks not far off Sydney heads..

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These majestic creatures can grow to an average length of 12-18 metres and weigh as much as 45 tonnes.

The two whales travelled along together for a while, diving and giving us a glimpse of their tails – {click, click, click went my camera :)}

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Humpbacks are VERY acrobatic {considering their size} and one of the two whales we were observing really decided to put on a show…

Breaching is said to be either purely for play, to loosen skin parasites or it may have some social meaning. Check out the splash he made when he hit the water!

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He then ‘spyhopped’ {poked his head out of the water for around 30 seconds} to check out what was going on.

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Again this was followed by a playful ‘splash.’ 🙂

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Finally, he waved good-bye…and they continued on their journey north…

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Then just to top off a fantastic day, an albatross flew past {for anyone that knows me, I LOVE albatross.}

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Our second day out whale watching was completely different…it was two weeks after the first trip and the whales seemed to be more intent on heading north as quickly as possible….

We just observed them for a while before we headed back to Darling Harbour…

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I can’t wait to photograph them again when they head south down the East coast. Have you seen any humpback whales this season? I’d love to hear your stories. Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

bye for now,

Chris 🙂