Category Archives: Machinery

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!
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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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National Railway Museum (Part 3 – Everything Else)

This is the concluding post of a three part exploration of the National Railway Museum located in suburban Port Adelaide. If you haven’t already visited the first two posts, I invite you to first visit Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 looks at the narrow gauge steam locomotives that powered South Australia’s mid-north narrow gauge network, while Part 2 explores the history of the State’s broad gauge network. This third post is a bit of a catch all, covering a selection of the museum’s other rolling stock.

First up, a quick look at some of the South Australia’s private railways.

BHP Steam Locomotive No. 4

BHP Limited operated a short line between the company’s Iron Knob iron ore mine and the town of Whyalla.  Rather than turn to British types like the government railways, BHP sourced two 4-6-0 steam locomotives from the US maker, Baldwin Locomotive Works, in 1914. BHP 4 has that classic US look, even though a cow catcher wasn’t fitted.

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National Railway Museum (Part 2 – Broad Gauge)

This is the second post of a three part exploration of the National Railway Museum located in suburban Port Adelaide.

Rather than repeat the introduction to the museum and South Australia’s railway systems, I invite you to visit Part 1 if you have not already done so. Part 1 looks at the narrow gauge steam locomotives that powered South Australia’s mid-north narrow gauge network.

In this post, attention will turn to South Australia’s 5 foot 3 inch broad gauge railways.

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National Railway Museum (Part 1 – Narrow Gauge)

I’ve found myself going through a plane, train and ship spotting phase this year, and recently spent a day visiting two of the three transport related museums situated in the Port Adelaide area.

I should mention at this point that I don’t plan for Photo Morsels to morph into a machinery-spotter’s paradise to the exclusion of all else. I will revert to other subjects once I have worked off all this machinery spotting!

I’ve previously posted images from the South Australian Aviation Museum here. In this and some following posts, I’ll cover the second museum visited, the National Railway Museum.

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