Category Archives: Adelaide

Roaming about Glenelg at Dusk

One of my nearby beachside suburbs in Adelaide is Glenelg. Located at the end of the tram line from Adelaide’s city centre, Glenelg has long been a popular spot for both Adelaide residents and visitors to spend time down at the seaside. For me, in summer particularly, it’s a great spot for some sunset and dusk photography and I find myself down there from time to time with camera in hand.

Back in January, I started a month long photo challenge at a photography website I frequent. The idea of the challenge is to nominate a particular lens and then, with that lens, take and post a photo every day through that month. Sounds easy, but keeping up the discipline can be surprisingly challenging as the month wears on. My January challenge failed miserably after only a week or so, but I did get some nice photos of Glenelg at dusk along the way.

While the Glenelg foreshore area provides a few different subjects and scenes for the photographer, on the evening of my visit I concentrated on the jetty and those promenading along it.

The first five of the following images were taken with my challenge lens for the month, an old (as in late 70’s/early 80’s) Pentax M 35mm F2.0 lens mounted on my Pentax K-3 camera.

So, here we go:

Glenelg Beach at Dusk

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Adelaide’s Titan Arum

Today’s post is a flower picture. But not just any old flower.

The titan arum, aka the corpse flower, is one of the world’s rarest, largest and unusual flowers. Native to Sumatra, Indonesia, the titan arum was discovered in 1878. It has been cultivated subsequently in botanical gardens but flowers only intermittently. So intermittently that the flowers tend to be given a name to mark the occasion.

For the first eight years or more of its life, the titan arum grows a single branched leaf on a long stem that can be six metres or so high. During this time, the plant develops an underground corm in excess of 50 kilograms. It then enters a long dormant period while the flower forms in the corm. Somewhere around its tenth birthday, a single flower emerges.

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens has quietly been growing titan arums from seed donated back in 2006 and this year has been rewarded with not one but two flowering plants.

The second flower opened on 1 February 2016 and the conservatory in which it was located remained open until midnight that evening for visitors to observe the flower. I drove there around 10:30pm, took a look at the length of the queue to get in, and kept driving. I was keen to see the titan arum, but not that keen!

So I popped back the following afternoon after work and was able to walk straight into the conservatory.

So meet Ganteng (which is Indonesian for handsome).

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Very nice you say, but why the corpse flower? Well, for the day or two it opens, the flower emits a strong odour described as a heady mix of onion, smelly socks and rotting fish. Not a pot plant for the dining room table!

It does this to attract pollinating flies and insects to come and visit during its short life. The ‘petal’, which is in fact a leaf, is also deep maroon in colour on the inside to convey the impression of carrion. Not only that, but the centre stalk warms itself to around human body temperature to further embellish the charade. The peak of the pong comes during the first evening when it is believed the titan arum’s preferred pollinators are most active in the jungle night. The true flowers that the insects must find are quite small and hidden deep inside at the base of the stalk. Quite some specialisation!

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Ganteng, as shown here, is finishing its flowering after a day and a half, the petal is slowly closing for good, and the pong has largely dissipated. Tomorrow the whole structure will start withering away and the corm will enter another rest period before throwing up another single leaf somewhere in the next year or so. Re-flowering will occur, with any luck, in two or three years time, but could also be as long as another ten years. As I wrote at the start of this post, titan arums flower ‘intermittently’.

Titan Arum, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

This image gives you a better idea of the size of the flower. Ganteng measured just over 2 metres tall. Impressive, but some way to go to match the largest ever grown in cultivation which came in at a little over three metres.

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So there you have it, today’s flower photo.

Is any one else left thinking of Audrey II from the Little House of Horrors film?

To Learn More

Wikipedia’s article on the titan arum can be found here.

The scientific name of the plant is Amorphophallus titanum while the popular name “titan arum” was invented by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough for his BBC series The Private Life of Plants, in which the flowering and pollination of the plant were filmed for the first time (I do remember that segment from when it was broadcast in Australia).

I’ll let you deduce from from the Wikipedia article why he decided a name make-over was considered necessary. You may also wish to keep ‘Amorphophallus titanum’ in store as a suitable put down for the annoying person inevitably encountered at office Christmas parties!

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Christmas greetings from Adelaide

Well, what happened to Photo Morsels in the second half of 2015? My previous post was way back in July and now it’s less than a day before 2016 arrives.

It seems odd writing this now in the middle of some 38°C weather but winter this year seemed cold and dreary, prompting me to stay in the warm part of the house rather than wander into the not-so-warm room which houses my photo-editing computer. So there went July and August. Then it seemed like I was in any timezone other than my own for a couple of months, mostly work trips but a little holidaying also.

So here I am in the last day of the year. Although there have been no new Photo Morsels posts for a while, I’ve still been busy with my camera, and in coming weeks will look to share some of what I captured over 2015.

T’is the festive season, so first up, Merry Christmas and a happy new year to Photo Morsels readers.

And sticking with the seasonal theme, I share with you an Adelaide Christmas tradition, the Brewery Christmas lights, a favorite of small kiddies since 1959. Nothing too flash in the context of modern era and its wizz bang technologies, but for the target audience of 3 to 10-ish year olds where everything in the world is new and exciting, it remains a great family evening out. Simple, ageless displays that remain thankfully free of trade-marked characters from Disney and the like.

West End Brewery Christmas Lights

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Queen Mary 2

Having got myself started on passenger liner photos in An Evening in the Rocks, I just happened to find the Queen Mary 2 in Adelaide a couple of weeks later.

I own a 5 metre runabout style boat so popped it in the water near Outer Harbor (where Adelaide’s passenger terminal is located) to combine an afternoon’s crabbing with a spin over to see the Queen Mary 2.

But yet again while photographing the Cunard Queens, the lighting was rubbish with thickish middle level cloud producing a dull, cold and contrastless light. That’s three out of three times I’ve struck these conditions photographing the Cunard Queen liners. Grrrrr… And the crabs weren’t very cooperative on the day either. At least the sea was calm.

So, hopefully having not put you off entirely, some images of Queen Mary 2.

Queen Mary 2 , Outer Harbor

Queen Mary 2 towering over Adelaide’s underwhelming passenger terminal.

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Skywhale: A Strange Beast Indeed

One more post with the Pentax DA 10-17 fisheye zoom before I migrate back to some of my other lenses. And for this post, rather than looking to use the ultra-wide angle field of view solely for creative purposes, the 10-17 zoom became the go to lens simply on the basis that I needed it to fit the subject into the frame.

Adelaide is currently in the middle of ‘Mad March’, the early autumn period where we squeeze almost every cultural event imaginable into the gap between our summer heat and the onset of autumn rains.

One of the less known events is the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art which I must say would have passed right by me (and so revealing myself as a cultural pygmy) except for one hard to ignore exhibit.

For one Saturday morning only, the Biennial brought Skywhale to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Skywhale is a hot air balloon commissioned for the Centenary of Canberra events held in 2013. Conceived and designed by Australian sculpture and contemporary artist Patricia Piccinini, Skywhale is intended by Patricia to be an exploration of the wonder of nature and its extraordinary capacity to find ways to adapt to any environment.

Skywhale is a little hard to describe, being something resembling an unlikely mating of a whale, a dairy cow and a chook.  I’m sure it sparked many a conversation when it first took to the skies in Canberra (which, for non-Australian readers, I will point out is the capital city of Australia and located approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne).

So maybe, I’ll just move onto the pictures…

Skywhale in Adelaide

On approach to the exhibition area, what do we have we here? Observation number one: it’s big! And reminiscent of the back end of a chook.

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Some more wide angle images

Following on from the most recent post that featured a day’s shooting with a new to me fisheye zoom lens (see Fun with a fisheye),  this next post will share a few images I’ve subsequently taken with this lens back in my home town of Adelaide.

Firstly, a quick recap for those who have not read the Fun with a fisheye post: I recently acquired a secondhand Pentax DA10-17mm fisheye zoom and set out to discover what sort of images I could make with the ultra-wide angle views this lens can deliver. The Fun with a fisheye post shared images of my first day with the DA 10-17, a day which happened to find me over in Sydney.

Back in Adelaide, I have since made a couple of trips down to the beachside suburb of Glenelg, a location I often head to when trying out new photo equipment. So, without further ado, over to some evening images of Glenelg.

Buffalo

A replica of HMS Buffalo – the original was wrecked off the North Island of New Zealand. The Buffalo brought the first settlers of the colony of South Australia in 1836, unloading its passengers at what became known as Glenelg. Photo-wise, a near 180º view towards the wide end of the lens can take a little getting used to. The tip of the bowsprit was over the top of my head and marginally behind me. Weird! Lots of green chromatic aberration in the upper right corner around the tree branches. This seems to be a bit of an issue down at the zoom’s wider focal lengths (this was taken at 11mm) with high contrast detail in the corners. If I had lots of time, the best thing for this particular image would be to clone out the tree branches altogether in Photoshop or similar software. I really didn’t want them in the image and were a by-product of wanting a field of view wide enough to take in the bowsprit. It was also one of those really flat and contrast-less evenings that was hard work to get much out of. I’ll have another go at this scene one day when there is better light.

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A warm day in Adelaide

We had a somewhat warm day in Adelaide today, 45.1°C (113ºF).  Our fourth hottest day on record, bumping into fifth place the 45.0°C recorded just one year ago on 4th January 2013.

Our all time record is 46.1°C (115°F) recorded back in 1939, the day before the infamous Black Friday fires broke out across the border in Victoria. This Thursday’s forecast is for 46°C, so it is quite possible later this week that we will have the hottest day ever recorded here.

Two weeks ago, there was an incredibly hot spell in the sparsely populated far north of South Australia.  Temperatures of 48 to 49°C (118-120°F) were recorded for several days in succession. We were spared in the south, with quite cool weather coming in off the Southern Ocean.

So after a cool spring and early summer, it’s safe to say the heat has arrived with a vengeance.

On that hot evening last year I wandered down to the local beaches for a bit of heat relief and to seek out an ice cream.  I took the camera with me to catch the end of the day down at Brighton beach. Tonight seems an appropriate time to share some of those images.

Adelaide, 4th January 2013, 45°C

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