THIRTY YEARS AGO
11 February 2017
I have long thought I arrived in Australia at the end of February thirty years ago, but couldn’t remember the date. Wanting to mark the occasion here, I ferreted around to see what I could find and came across an old UK passport which unfortunately replaced the one I arrived with, the following year.
Happily, my old metal document case yielded the key paperwork relating to my move, including the Qantas ticket for my flight from Heathrow to the Gold Coast. I landed at Sydney on February 11. I remember over-nighting at the airport hotel, scarcely believing I was actually in Australia and only a relatively short distance and a matter of hours away from folding Simon, my beloved five year old son, in my arms. He had preceded me to Australia with his mother and her partner nearly a year before.
I was forty five years old when I came to Australia, straight from London to Tamborine Mountain, where I have lived ever since; my longest ever sojourn in the same place. Australia has been extremely good to me, allowing me to live a better life than I ever could in the UK, both materially and, since I began this project, creatively.
For someone who doesn’t like wearing a shirt with a collar, I rejoice in putting on a t-shirt just about every day of my life; on a majority of days, with no need for a jacket or sweater. How is that for an endorsement of the country I am proud to call home.
2016 IMAGE LIBRARY
10 February 2017
This afternoon I posted a USB to Queensland Museum containing the 2016 video frames and photos to be added to my Image Library, plus supporting information on locations and species identification. There are 419 video frames. I tried to count the photos and arrived at a total of 559, making 978 images in all. However, in copying the photos to the USB there seemed to be many more items. I do not know whether that tally included the folders housing the jpgs.
1 February 2017
Tonight was my first night filming foray with the new camera. We are approaching our 150th walk. A little while back we felt that we might run out of subjects to film only to find that we encountered one fresh nocturnal highlight after another. This evening was no exception. Mark, Jaap, Lumart and I were in Joalah National Park. Mark tickled the trip lines of a trapdoor spider lurking beneath its slightly ajar door. It pounced on the stick before withdrawing to its previous position. I also filmed a Golden-crowned Snake maneuvering on a fallen tree lodged against the bank of the pool below Curtis Falls, a Gordian Worm swimming in the pool and a Pie-dish Beetle scurrying around some small rocks.
20 January 2017
After breakfast, I filmed three of the four moths I had photographed at the garage on my morning walk; the fourth having flown away. Filming moths at the garage has become an all too rare pleasure. It is nearly a year since the previous occasion which in turn was the first since June 2015. One of the moths was a new species for my website. It was a fitting way to inaugurate my new camera.
19 January 2017
I took delivery of my Canon XA35 camera before breakfast and before noon was in Steve’s office so that he could set up the camera for me, bless him. The extras comprise two large batteries and two memory cards. The battery included with the camera is only good for 145 minutes or so.
18 January 2017
Today I completed the settings for the last four videos compiled from tape. There are now 426 videos on the page. I have over two and a half hours of material from memory card 1 shot with the demo camera, which will be made into the next species videos.
LAST AND FIRST
17 January 2017
This evening Steve and I captured the 20 frames from the last tape footage and the first 49 frames from memory card 1. The latter include plenty of in focus wide shots, which I was unable to film for the past two years with the Sony.
13 January 2017
Yesterday I collected two time-coded DVDs from Steve. One contained the last tape footage, the other the first memory card footage. Today I selected 20 frames for capture from the last tape footage. They completed the tally of 978 images for 2016 I am submitting to the Queensland Museum to add to my Image Library which is in its collection. I have started writing the document containing location information and species identity to accompany the images.
5 January 2017
A good way to start the blog for 2017; posting my decision to buy the Canon XA 35. This evening I was with Steve. He downloaded the footage from the memory card to his hard drive and transferred 1 hour and 20 minutes worth to his edit programme. The footage included two night filming walks and the lagoon at the Sports Complex, dry on 30 December 2016 and full of water on 4 January 2017 with four Pacific Black Ducks swimming in it, after heavy rain three days ago. I am hanging onto the demo camera and hope to be able to keep it until the new one arrives.
28 December 2016
This morning I took the Canon into Palm Grove National Park to film the aerial roots of a Bangalow Palm, the fallen Moreton Bay Fig tree, volcanic rocks on the slope above the school path and a male harvestman on a rock where I once filmed six in close proximity. The greatest benefit of a fully functioning camera was accurate focus from wide to zoom. The sunlight created strong contrast which I tried to overcome by adjusting the exposure, but the controls are not as handy as on the Sony and will take some getting used to.
This evening two guests made for an extra large party on our night walk in The Knoll. The old crew of Mark and Dan only lacked Jaap’s presence to be fully reunited. This was the first opportunity to try out the Canon at night. Because it has a better sensor than the Sony, the focused beam of the spotlight resulted in over-exposure, particularly on wide shots. Resorting to a version of manual exposure improved the image quality without getting the exposure right. I filmed a great barred frog, a female poinciana longicorn beetle depositing her eggs in a tree, two resting northern evening darners (dragonflies), an ant, a millipede, a northern tree funnel web spider (the deadliest on earth) enticed from its burrow, another species of millipede and possibly a grey huntsman spider.