Tag Archive for 'australia'

Suburban Canberra

Bruce

Depot Beach, NSW

Murramurang National Park

Murramurang National Park

Bubbles

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

Vicotria Bushfires

ABC has an amazing website dedicated to telling the entire story of the 2009 bushfires

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Bushfire light?

There’s been some crazy and beautiful light around Dunedin today, and probably over much of New Zealand. I bet it’s smoke from the fires in Australia: the result of the brutal summer they’re having.

Dunedin sunset

Dunedin sunset

Bowling

bowling

bowling

Traffic

Curious, my photo of the nifty moon-jupiter-venus configuration generated half as many visits as my most popular blog entry, but in only a few days. It appears the title “smiley moon” was what everyone would be googling…

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Final PhD talk

I gave my final PhD talk at Mt Stromlo the other day. It covered pretty much everything I’ve done during the last four years, which is documented on the PhD page.

I was exceptionally clever and used two laptops so I could have two slides up at a time. Of course I ended up with an extra 20 slides to explain… but it worked well for the double screen mode in our lecture theatre. The slides are here (main) and here (side).

Busy busy

It’s been a crazy month. Car is sold, junk is sold or gone, house is clean, skateboard is gone, stuff is shipped, most people are said goodbye to…

garage sale

garage sale

mt painter

mt painter

sushi train

sushi train

Smiley moon

Go out and look at the moon tonight. Venus and Jupiter are nearby making a smiley face. Maybe it will cheer the world up some…

smiley face moon

smiley face moon

Selling my car

The time has finally come to sell my trusty old Magna Wagon. Here are a few more pics…

my car

my car

my car again

my car again

once more...

once more...

Bowling

bowling

bowling

My day

Having printed my thesis, this view pretty sums up the last few days. Staring out the window and deciding whether to get a better camera, inspired by a check for USD$1800 and the exchange rate, and the much better viewfinders on full frame dslr’s.

doing nothing

doing nothing

Yes, life is tough…

Another sunset

yet another sunset

yet another sunset

Iceland

Did they have this sticker three months ago?
car sticker

car sticker

This is secret…

theses

theses

Sunset again

burley griffin sunset

burley griffin sunset

More b/w

street lights and moon

street lights and moon

Thesis printing

I printed my thesis last night, there was a nice sunset behind the AITC building.

stromlo sunset

stromlo sunset

House

This is a house.

house

house

Tidbinbilla

We spent a family day out at Tidbinbilla, the nature reserve, not where the telescopes for NASA’s deep space network are. It was rather cloudy and windy, but was nice anyway…

grey day at tidbinbilla

grey day at tidbinbilla

tree stump

tree stump

pelican feeding time

pelican feeding time

swallow feeding time

swallow feeding time

The rest of the photos are here.

Telescope pier

This is part of one of the old burnt out telescopes at Mt Stromlo.

old telescope

old telescope

From the country that brought you “Strictly Ballroom”

strictly...

strictly...

Gravity waves

The ANU gravity wave facility has this thing on the end of their building.

artists impression of gravity waves

artists impression of gravity waves

On the same walk I also saw a tree

tree

tree

Apartments

We walked past these apartments the other day. I never really think of black and white as an option…

Canberra projects

Canberra projects

Mimosa Rocks

We went out to the coast last weekend, and stayed in the Mimosa Rocks National Park. The water around there is very clear. The sunlight was coming through the waves as they were breaking. Very nice.

Waves

Waves

Premium economy

I somehow scored an upgrade to premium economy on my flight to San Francisco. Two seats on the side instead of three, and they lean back heaps further, the food is a bit better. Nice.

Unfortunately it was on the end of a days wait in Sydney airport, and I now have another five hours at SFO before leaving. Not so nice.

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Olympus Stylus 1030SW review

A few months ago I purchased the Olympus Stylus 1030SW, the unbreakable and waterproof little point and shoot. Having spent the bulk of the time using my E-500 with reasonably nice f/2.8 lenses in the last few years it initially felt like rather a downgrade. The quality of the images wasn’t all that great, particularly for landscape shots. For close up people type stuff it does well, and I can commonly get away without the flash.

Recently I got a chance to try out what I saw as one of the coolest features of the camera: the waterproof bit. Having given it a brief test run one evening with a glass of water, the real test came as I prepared to jump into the water along Ningaloo Reef, on the Western Australian coast near Exmouth. Attached with rubber bands, I took it into the water and tried it out inbetween gulps of seawater. Two of the nicest shots I got are posted here. They came out beautifully, so I’m totally stoked I went to the effort and cost to get a waterproof one…

The camera spends pretty much its whole life in my pocket. Being waterproof I think it can hack a bit of dust and the odd bump. As it happens it got a solid hit one day, but saved me a bit of pain. One of my tent poles slipped out of my hand pitching the tent one evening, and recoiled straight into the camera in my pocket. Damage documented below (as is the rubber band setup for swimming)…

my bashed up olympus stylus

my bashed up olympus stylus

Any Olympus people who want me to be a poster boy for their unbreakable camera can use my story for the reasonable price of an E-3 back…

So in short: nice camera for cool stuff like swimming and treating roughly, but not an SLR. No surprises.

Wagga

Last weekend we made a trip to Wagga wagga. We went to the beach, a kids soccer game, some local watering holes, and the licorice factory in Junee on the way back. This t-shirt, available at the local information center sums it up…

promo t-shirt

promo t-shirt

The rest of the photos are here.

Rottnest Island

While in Perth we spent a day out on Rottnest Island. The island was named by the Dutch, meaning “rats nest” after the local Quokkas. Here is one hiding from me as I tried to take a photo…

Quokka

Quokka

The rest of the photos are here.

Pinnacles

While in Perth we rented a car for a few days and cruised up to the Pinnacles. It was cloudy so we missed seeing their shadows as the sun set, but it was still very pretty…

Pinnacles near Perth

Pinnacles near Perth

The rest of the Pinnacles photos are here.

Karijini National Park

As part of our WA trip we drove across to Karijini National Park. Near Tom Price, this park has canyons in the middle of the desert. Water comes out of the water table, keeping them nice and wet while it’s desert up above.

Heron in Karijini

Heron in Karijini

There are also some really cool bits of canyon where water has been flowing for a very long time. There are beautiful pools and channels

Canyon in Karijini

Canyon in Karijini

The rest of the photos are here.

Exmouth

So the day after the conference finished, we flew up to Exmouth to search for whale sharks, sun, and a break from the Canberra winter. We found it.

Saturday we went out on a boat with 3 Islands Marine in the hope of swimming with a whale shark. The morning was spent with a nice dive on the Ningaloo reef. I got to test out my new Olympus 1030SW, supposedly waterproof but as yet untested (aside from a bit of testing with a water glass). Turned out it works beautifully, and takes really nice photos.

Ningaloo reef

Ningaloo reef

We then moved on outside the reef to find big fish to swim with. The company uses planes to spot their fish, and had to call in a second one when they hadn’t found one by lunch time. On the way we saw some humpback whales on their way north.

While we were watching the whales, the whale shark call came, and we and the other boats raced down to the spot. There was only the one whale shark that day so we had to share with some other boats. We got several swims so I didn’t feel like we missed out at all.

Come swim time we dived in and split into two groups so the fish could swim between us. It dutifully did so and was extremely cool…

Whale shark

Whale shark

My camera worked nicely too, as you can see.

Having tired ourselves out, we headed back. We met some more humpbacks on the way, these ones much more playful, showing a bit of tail for us to photograph.

Humpback

Humpback

An awesome day, and probably worth the $350 or so it cost us. The rest of the photos are here.

ASA conference done

The ASA conference ended nicely. Well worth the trip over to check the place out.

Apparently someone said “He always looks like he just got out of bed, but seems to know what he’s talking about” when I got up to advertise my poster. Best praise from a stranger I’ve had for ages…

Holiday time!

Perth has bad taxis: 5

We waited for over an hour in the rain for a taxi after the conference dinner. Not happy…

Perth is expensive: 4

After the day of talks we went out for a few beers and dinner. I paid over $7 for a schooner, and over $8 for a pint. Ouch. It was nice sitting outside at least…

Belgian beer cafe in Perth

ASA talk done: 3

Monday was the first day of the conference. I gave my talk and didn’t pay attention to much else until I did so…

The talk slides are here, for more info on my PhD go here.

Perth is nice: 2

Sunday was our chance to check the place out. We had a nice breakfast and then wandered through town. It’s clean, nice looking, and has pretty much the same stores as anywhere. The buildings look old in a nice classical way, not a run down one. It feels like it lacks the rough edges of Melbourne…

We caught the train/bus out to Freemantle. We paid $8 for a family ticket and didn’t show it to anyone once. Freemantle is nice, it feels a bit older and used. There are street performers and markets. It’s quite a tourist destination so is pretty crowded, especially around the markets.

We cam back and went to the reception, free food and drink. We searched for somewhere to eat after, and found an unfortunate pizza place. The chef was all ready to go home but got stuck making four more pizzas for us. I think we cheered him with a toast and buying lots of wine…

Freemantle

Perth is weird: 1

I’m in Perth for a week attending the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Holiday in WA!

We got in Saturday night, our cheap apartments turned out to be just that. Some cabbie volunteered the information that it might be frequented by people who used the rooms, but not for the whole night…

We cruised over to Northbridge for a few drinks. Not the classiest of districts but we managed. We sat in a part of a bar that was also a bottle store. So sitting with a few beers next to a fridge and rows of wine bottles.

More to come…

Jervis Bay

Last weekend Michelle and I cruised out of town for a break. We went to Jervis Bay via Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls. We froze in my tent, and had fish ‘n’ chips in Batemans Bay on the way back.

sea snails!

More photos here.

Canberra sunrise

Canberra was shrouded in fog this morning as I got to school.

Canberra sunrise

Party, party, party

Friday cocktail party, Saturday Zoolander party, Sunday and Monday do nothing…

blue steel

Foggy Canberra

As happens some days there was a layer of fog over Canberra this morning. The sun was making some early attempts to push through the cloud, creating a few spots of light. Very pretty.

fog over canberra

There are a few more photos here.

Nothing to do

The weather was rubbish all night, so I had nothing to do. I took a photo just before bed time when I was refilling the dewar…

filling the dewar

More photos here

SSO Sunrise

I stayed up a wee bit later this morning to watch the sun come up. Well worth it.

sso sunrise

More photos here.

Crepuscular rays and the AAT

Nice crepuscular rays this morning… the dome at the right is the Anglo-Australian Telescope, known to those in the know as the AAT.

crepuscular rays and the AAT

Warrumbungle National Park

I’m at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran in NSW this week. I’m looking for planets via the transit technique for my friend Dan. The observatory is situated in a national park, with great views of the park and surrounding terrain.

lookout

There are more photos here.

Balloon festival 2

Using the panorama software Hugin I made another balloon picture. It’s rather more detailed than the last…

balloons over canberra

Balloon festival

Right now there is a hot air balloon festival here in Canberra. I had a nice view of it from afar on my way to school this morning.

balloons and parliament

Driving north

Over the weekend Michelle and I took a drive up to my uncle’s place for a visit. He lives near Kew which is about 7 hours drive north. We were treated to great food and wine, and had a good ol’ family time.

On the way up we stopped where the road crosses the Hawkesbury River, and saw lots of big spiders.

big creepy spider

We went for a walk on the beach out from Laurieton, very nice in the evening…

michelle on the beach

and as we watched the sun set a few dolphins came into the bay as an added bonus!

dolphins at sunset

The rest of the photos are here.