Category Archives: Regional South Australia

A wet and rainy day in Marion Bay

Back in July, in the depths of the South Australian winter, I traveled down to the foot of Yorke Peninsula for a fishing trip with my eldest son and one of his school mates.

First point of call was the small township of Marion Bay. Yorke Peninsula is shaped a lot like Italy and forms a distinct foot shape. Marion Bay is located on the base of the peninsula’s  ‘big toe’ and looks out onto Kangaroo Island and the Southern Ocean beyond.

The area had received a lot of rain over the preceding few days and heavy rain-bearing cumulus clouds were still passing through when we arrived. Unusually though for Marion Bay, it was calm and windless. At ground level anyway – there was must have been some wind a few thousand feet up that was pushing the rain clouds through. We arrived mid-afternoon and were soon down on the beach, and later the town jetty, to wet the lines.

I left this first session of fishing to the boys and instead took the camera. The light was soft and rather special. I hope you enjoy the following images. The first batch of shots were taken using some ‘old’ Pentax glass, a M series 135mm F3.5 telephoto lens that dates from around 1980. The more I use this lens, the more I like the way it renders.

Marion Bay, Yorke Peninsula

One of the small headlands protecting Marion Bay from the Southern Ocean swell. Calm in the bay, but the horizon on the left is rather lumpy. The low line on the horizon is Kangaroo Island.  On the other side of the headland lies one of the many shipwrecks in the area.  Two ships named Marion were shipwrecked along this section of coast. The second was the SS Marion which was wrecked in 1862 just west of Marion Bay.  By the way, the ‘spots’ in the sky are not a load of dust on my sensor, rather a flock of pigeons that resides in the limestone cliffs.

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Dawn Patrol

It’s not often that I get up at dawn, but my current enthusiasm for photography is encouraging me to try to see in the start of the day at least once anytime I am away on holidays . Continuing with the visit to the River Murray that has been the subject of other recent posts, this post captures the area at first light. Fortunately for me, the final day of the October long weekend was the second day of daylight saving for summer 2013-14, giving me an extra hour of sleep before the pre-dawn light started to appear 🙂

Dawn breaks over River Murray lagoon

The view from the front door of the tent a little before 6am.

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More from the Murray

Following on from the last post, some more images of the River Murray area around Morgan.

Murray River

Looking down on the river, from the top of the cliffs featured in the previous post. Although the river height wasn’t elevated, there was a fair flow of muddy water in the main channel.

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Silent Sentinels

Just back from a weekend camping up on the banks of the River Murray and thought I’d quickly post some images.

The Murray River is today a highly regulated river system with a series of weir and locks along its length.  Other than during flood events, the river level upstream of each lock is carefully managed to keep pool heights constant for both irrigation and navigation purposes. Unfortunately, this has been to the detriment of thousand upon thousands of river red gums lining the banks of the river and its flood plains.  These magnificent trees need periodic flooding over their root systems (once very few years is fine – they get by in between), but constant immersion leads to their slow death.  The river today has many patches of gums drowned by the higher and unvarying river levels that came with the locks – silent sentinels looking down upon a now disturbed ecological balance.

Drowned river red gums on the River Murray, Australia

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SteamRanger Cockle Train (Revisited)

Back in March I posted a photo essay of the SteamRanger historic railway featuring photos of the largest of the steam engines currently in service, the Duke of Edinburgh.  You can find that post here.

SteamRanger is a volunteer run society operating a number of tourist railway services on the now isolated Mt Barker to Victor Harbor broad gauge line. The Cockle Train service runs along the Goolwa to Victor Harbor section of the track, along the edge of the Southern Ocean, for a distance of around 12 miles. Cockles, a local shellfish prolific near the mouth of the Murray River, provide the name for this service that runs regularly on weekends and school holidays. This section of line is the oldest in South Australia and was established in 1854 as a horse drawn railway to move freight from Goolwa (the lowest river port on the Murray-Darling river system) to nearby ocean ports (initially Port Elliott and later Victor Harbor). The railway allowed the mouth of the Murray River to be bypassed as it was unsafe for navigation, being shallow and directly facing the treacherous Southern Ocean swell.  The line was rebuilt for steam in 1856.

A number of different rolling stock units are used to operate the service. Last weekend I drove down to Goolwa and followed the Sunday morning train from Goolwa to Victor Harbor and back.   This service was operated by a former South Australian Railways 500 class diesel locomotive, No 507.

The 500 class was introduced in the 1960’s as shunters in marshalling yards across the State, replacing steam locomotives used to that time.  Ultimately, as trains became longer and heavier, they became obsolete.  Most were scrapped in the 1990’s, but a few remain in service.  I can recall seeing these locos working in Adelaide’s Mile End good yards in the 1960’s and 70’s, along with the last few steam tank engines.

The 500 class was built locally at South Australian Railways’ Islington workshop.  They were diesel-electric with English Electric 500hp motors, and a mix of standard and broad gauge examples were produced.  SteamRanger uses No 507 to run the the Cockle Train on quieter services where the cost of running steam is too high.

We commence the pictures at Goolwa station shortly before the train set off for Victor Harbor.
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Classic Planes (Part 2)

This is the second half of my Jamestown Air Spectacular photo set.  I’ve broken the set into two posts to keep page load speeds reasonable for viewers with slower Internet connections.  If you’ve just arrived here, maybe go back to Part 1 first by clicking on this link.

But if you’ve just come from Part 1, well, let’s get on with it.<!–more–>

I’ll resume with another aerobatic aircraft.  This time, the Pitts Special ‘Super Stinker’ of Chris Sperou.  Chris is a South Aussie local and an aerobatics legend in Australia.  I have seen him a number of times over the years, and I thought the display he put on at Jamestown was as good, if not better, than any I have seen.

Jamestown_Air_Spectacular

Accelerating down the runway, about to get airborne. For Chris, that means going near vertical within moments of the wheels clearing the tarmac.  What I hadn’t previously noticed until posting this photo was the amount of bracing used on the tail-fin and horizontal stabilisers.

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Classic Planes (Part 1)

Last spring, a classic aircraft airshow, the Jamestown Air Spectacular, was held in South Australia’s mid north.  Jamestown is a modest sized rural town approximately a three hour 200km drive north of Adelaide, and located in prime cropping country.  I day-tripped up from Adelaide, making a long but enjoyable day.

Jamestown airport has a single 1350 metre runway which was sealed in 2009 as the result of a lot of fundraising by the local aviation club and with support from the local council and businesses.  The airshow is held once every three years.

For an event held far from a capital city, it received wonderful spectator support and showed off a good blend of enthusiast aircraft types.

All the photos in this post were taken with my Pentax K-x dSLR using a Pentax DA 55-300 zoom lens.  While there were a few photo opportunities that would have benefited from a shorter focal length lens, there was a reasonable amount of dust in the air which I did not want entering the camera body while changing lenses.  My sensor already had a few blotches of gunk on it and I had no desire to add more!  So, I just stuck with the 55-300.

I used a monopod extensively to reduce camera shake.  A welcome side benefit was relieving me of the need to hold the camera and lens up for the many hours of photo opportunities that the Spectacular provided. I really recommend a monopod when using longer focal length lenses – much more portable and convenient that a tripod while still offering a considerable camera steadying benefits.  I own a Manfrotto 776YB aluminium monopod fitted with a 234RC tilt head. The 234RC is fitted with a convenient quick release plate. The same quick release plate is used on my tripod, keeping life pretty simple.

Throughout the day I roamed the general admission area, but for keen attendees, there was also a premium viewing option which was situated by the aircraft hard standing area.  Some accredited photographers were out on the airfield itself, enjoying close up, obstruction free viewing.  Lucky devils.

It was a great day both for flying and photography – a light northerly breeze running straight down the runway and a clear cloudless sky.

So, onto the planes.

As we were walking into the spectator area, this little number was just finishing its routine and in my first photo of the day was photographed  returning to its parking area.

Jamestown_Air_Spectacular-041

DR107 aerobatic special. Built by the owner from 50 blueprint plans. Capable of eye-popping +10 to -10G turns, and a complete 360 degree roll in under one second. Finished in stunning metallic blue paint.

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