Category Archives: Machinery

Paragliding at Tunkalilla

Back in January I visited a friend on his farm near Parawa on the southern edge of the Fleurieu Peninsula. After departing in the late afternoon I took the local gravel roads down to Tunkalilla Beach for a quick sticky-beak before heading back to Adelaide. It’s a rather quiet spot well away from the path of the typical day-tripper.  It is a known location though for hang glider and paraglider enthusiasts. Rolling hills rise to an elevation of several hundred metres immediately behind the beach, turning sea breezes into ideal updrafts for soaring.

On my arrival there were four paragliders in the air so I proceeded to capture the action with a macro lens (as you do!). Why a macro lens you ask? Shortly before arriving at Tunkalilla, I’d put my early 1980’s Pentax M 100mm macro lens on the camera, having stopped to photograph some of the roadside flora. It was also the only longish lens I had with me, so that’s what got pressed into use. Despite manual focus and manual exposure control (and terrible flat and dull lighting from lots of mid-level cloud), I managed to grab some half decent images, which I share with you in this post.

Paragliding at Tungkilla

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Double Headed Steam: Pichi Richi Railway

So far in this series of posts, we’ve followed the Pichi Richi Railway’s Afghan Express heritage train from Port Augusta up into the Pichi Richi Pass as far as Woolshed Flat in:

Head full of steam

and

Heading for the hills

This third post starts at Woolshed Flat and what attracted me to come up to see the Pichi Richi Railway on this particular weekend is revealed – the rare opportunity to see a steam double-headed train. Waiting at Woolshed Flat for the Ghan Express to arrive was the Pichi Richi Explorer, a second heritage steam service that had come up to Woolshed Flat from the other end of the line at Quorn.

W22, Pichi Richi Railway

The Pichi Richi Explorer

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Heading for the hills: Pichi Richi Railway

NM25, Afghan Express, Pichi Richi Railway

Continuing on from the prior post, we follow the Pichi Richi Railways’ Afghan Express as it heads out of Port Augusta and up into the Flinders Ranges through the Pichi Richi Pass.

If you haven’t taken a look at the earlier post Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway I suggest you take a look there before continuing with this post.

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Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway

Yep, I’m back to posting about trains again. It’s been a year since the last post dedicated to trains, so that’s not too bad for self discipline!

There are two historical railway societies within South Australia running regularly scheduled tourist railways. One is the Steamranger Heritage Railway operating in the Adelaide Hills and along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula  and which I have previously looked at in several posts. The other society is the Pichi Richi Railway located some 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Adelaide in the southern Flinders Ranges.

In early October 2013 I took a major detour on the way from Adelaide to a camping weekend along the Murray River to first head to Port Augusta and check out the Pichi Richi operations. Photos from this trip were to have been posted to Photo Morsels but an unexpected visit to the National Railway Museum in suburban Port Adelaide later in October yielded an extensive collection of photos. Those photos rather than the Pichi Richi photos ended up appearing on Photo Morsels in late 2013.

I still intended though that the Pichi Richi photos were to have been a follow-on series published soon thereafter. The ‘soon thereafter’ didn’t eventuate, so with considerable delay, let’s now take a look at the Pichi Richi Railway.

The Pichi Richi Railway is headquartered in the township of Quorn, historically an important railway junction straddling the east/west line across Australia and the railway that headed north to Alice Springs. The heritage railway workshops are in Quorn, but rolling stock is also stored in Port Augusta. This allows heritage services to be operated out of either location.

Joining Port Augusta to Quorn is 39 kilometres (24 miles) of lightly built narrow gauge railway. This section of line was built in 1878 as part of the South Australian Railways’ Port Augusta & Government Gums Railway, and later formed a part of the Commonwealth Railways Central Australian Railway and the east-west Transcontinental line. The original Ghan passenger service operated on the line initially to the remote South Australian community of Oodnadatta and later to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The section of track maintained by the Pichi Richi Railway is the oldest remaining section of this now abandoned and largely removed narrow gauge track. The Ghan still runs, but on standard gauge track built in the late 1970’s on a completely different alignment to the original.

This post looks at the assembly of an Afghan Express heritage service prior to its run from Port Augusta to Quorn and back.

NM25, Pichi Richi Railway

After building up steam, former Commonwealth Railways 4-8-0 locomotive NM25 brings the some of the original Ghan’s wooden railway carriages out of the storage sheds located at the Port Augusta railway station.

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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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An Evening in the Rocks

Intro Note: Well, this must be my slowest post from initial creation to actually getting it finished for publishing. I started in early April and then life sort of got in the way. It’s now mid-June as I finish it off. The opening sentence below seems a bit dated now!
.

After travelling to Sydney in early February with my new to me 10-17mm fisheye zoom (see Fun with a Fisheye), I was back in Sydney a few weeks later for four days of business related meetings and conferences. One evening I loaded up the camera gear and set off for a walk past Circular Quay, under the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and then back down the other of the Harbour Bridge expressway to my target destination for the evening, Observatory Hill.

The area I walked through is known as The Rocks and is a significant heritage area with most of the properties there dating from the mid to late 19th century. After a short walk from my hotel, I arrived at Circular Quay. This is a very well known spot on the edge of Sydney Harbour where all of the Sydney ferries arrive and depart from the central business district. The Sydney Opera House is on one side and the Overseas Passenger Terminal on the other.

February/March is peak season for cruise liners to be visiting Sydney and I’m up in Sydney for the same week at the beginning of March each year. Typically one of the Cunard ‘Queens’ calls into Sydney during that week. This year it was the Queen Victoria. Previously I’ve seen the Queen Mary II and the now retired Queen Elizabeth II. As yet, I don’t think I’ve yet laid eyes on the new Queen Elizabeth. What I like about the Queens is that they more or less preserve the classic lines of the trans-Atlantic liners. They might just be ships, but the lines are graceful and sweeping. The design language is cohesive and everything is in proportion. Whereas the look of some of the modern cruise ships just leaves me cold. Ugly and sometimes kitsch are two descriptors that spring to mind. So, I’ll start this post with a few Queen Victoria shots, but I promise this is not a ship only post and I will be moving onto other subjects.

Queen Victoria, Circular Quay, Sydney

Queen Victoria under a dull and somewhat threatening grey sky.  On this evening the rain held off.  By way of contrast, two years earlier I photographed the Queen Mary II on her March visit, also in the early evening.  Just after finishing those shots, it started to rain. And rain, and rain. It stopped the next day at noon after 4½ inches had fallen.


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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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