MY NEW RUNNING TOY – road-tested on wheels

The Garmin Forerunner 110.

The Garmin Forerunner 110.

My son thoughtfully gave me a heart rate monitor for my last birthday.

I was touched that he was concerned about his old dad’s ticker, but wait, there’s more… In the package with the heart monitor was a Garmin Forerunner 110, a GPS device designed for runners. It was a generous present, which I’ve been putting to good use, hoping to keep my heart going for several more birthdays at least.

The Forerunner 110 is really intended to adorn the wrists of athletes who care about their personal bests, their lap times and indeed, their heart rates. I’ve been trying it out on my cycling expeditions, on most of which I’ve left the heart monitor at home. Continue reading

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BLUE MOUNTAINS PHOTO CONTEST – No, I didn’t win, but…

Wentworth Falls - Gary Moloney.

Wentworth Falls – Gary Moloney.

I think it’s surprisingly difficult to make good photos in the mountains. It’s surprising because so many views are spectacular. It’s difficult because any shot you can think of seems to be a clicheed image, just the same scene that hundreds of others have captured before you.

So it was an interesting challenge when the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service ran a photo competition for the best shot of the Blue Mountains. Thanks, Antonina, for bringing it to my attention.

What the best of the shortlist of 17 entries have in common is that they had some luck with the weather. The sun breaking through the clouds at exactly the right moment, Narrow Neck in fog, an isolated shower approaching the Three Sisters…these are the sights that you wish you’d been there to see.

I say they had ‘luck’, though who knows? Maybe getting the perfect light was the result of months of patience and planning.

Whatever their merits, the chosen shots show some of the variety of landscapes and activities that make the Blue Mountains one of my favourite places in the world.

I’ve posted some of my picks of the pics here. Continue reading

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AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE BIRD – my practice shots

He's not as well-known as the kookaburra or the emu, but very well-liked.

The Superb Fairy-wren. He’s not as well-known as the kookaburra or the emu, but he’s very well liked. In a recent survey of 8000 bird lovers, he was the favourite. I say ‘he’, because this is a male.

Mevrouw T and I have signed on for a wildlife cruise around the Scottish island of Mull, once the weather improves in May. Puffins, otters, eagles, maybe peregrine falcons and dolphins too.

It sounds excellent, so I’ve decided to use it as an excuse to practise my wildlife photography. Armed with yet another new longish camera lens (Canon 70-300mm this time) I set off around Sydney’s Cooks River, just a couple of kms south of Casa Tulloch, to shoot the wildlife there.

I mustn’t let familiarity breed contempt – these shots are all of very common birds in Sydney, but no less interesting for that. Continue reading

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TELUNAS TOP TWELVE – best shots

Despite all the interesting learning experiences on offer at Telunas, the kids invariably have one highlight - jumping off the deck.

Despite all the interesting learning experiences on offer at Telunas, the kids invariably have one highlight – jumping off the deck. It often makes the best shot too.

While the writers’ camp at Telunas Beach is supposed to be all about words, for me it’s about pictures too.

I’d bought a new camera lens and this was its first outing. It’s an ‘all-in-one’ Tamron 18-270mm, so naturally there are compromises of image quality at both ends of the range, though on the whole I found it did the job. The advantage of the big zoom is that I could get close to people without making them too aware they were in shot, thus getting a little more spontaneity.

And in Indonesia’s lovely Riau Islands, there is always something worth pointing the camera at. Continue reading

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TERIMA KASIH (Thanks!) JAGA ISLAND!

We don't speak Bahasa, they don't speak English, but we can all learn handgames. handgames.

We don’t speak Bahasa, you don’t speak English, but we can all learn handgames.

Not many people visit Pulau Jaga, Indonesia. It isn’t easy to find. Google Maps doesn’t even name it. ‘Did you mean “Java, Indonesia”?’ says the Google search engine, trying as ever to be helpful.

No, I did mean Jaga, an island in the Riau Archipelago, two and a half hours by boat south of Singapore. Jaga is some 2.5km long and 500m across, home to perhaps 90 families, most of them supported by fishing. There are no hotels, no restaurants, no roads and no cars. There is a school, however, and we were invited to visit it. It was a privilege and a pleasure. Continue reading

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IT ALMOST CONVERTS YOU TO MONARCHISM…ALMOST!

Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima on their way to watch the speedskating in Sochi.

Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima on their way to watch the speedskating in Sochi.

Okay, the orange bikes are probably being provided by Dutch taxpayers, and the shot may be a strategically placed PR photo op.

But you have to like the idea that they thought it was a good idea. All it needs now is for the guys in the middle to be holding hands and discreetly waving rainbow flags…

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: (accidental) selfie, Rajasthan

At first I thought, 'Damn! Look at that reflection.' Then I reflected further...

At first I thought, ‘Damn! Look at that reflection.’ Then I reflected further…



It’s been a while since I entered the Weekly Photo Challenge, and this week’s topic ‘SELFIE’ wasn’t immediately appealing. I hadn’t heard the word until a few months ago. Then I decided perhaps I did have something to offer…

On our recent luxury train trip through India on the Maharajas Express we often found ourselves staring through the tinted glass as Real India, non-airconditioned India, slid past.

This shot, which had been consigned to the ‘reject file’ seemed to capture the spirit – fascination with what we were seeing, tinged with a little guilt that we were so insulated from it.

The writer was the guest of Railbookers. See www.railbookers.com.au

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