Bundy let loose at the beach

Normally I don’t like letting Bundy off his leash in public areas, there are a number of reasons for this but primarily I don’t want him accused of being aggressive because he is a staffy. Bundy is great with other dogs and generally ignores the noisy, over-excited ones when we go for a walk, however he does not like them trying to get amorous with him and he will tell them where to go in a not-so-polite fashion. Knowing this makes me a little anxious. My husband is completely the opposite so when we took Bundy to a dog friendly part of the beach recently he spent the majority of the time off lead, zig-zagging across the sand and running up to greet any person who walked by. There were only a few dogs around and for the most part Bundy ignored them, he is much more focused on being with us now that he is older and less inclined (thank goodness) to take off and disappear into the dunes. There was one large dog that he took a liking to, they played around on the top of a sand dune before zooming down the dune towards the water, I am shooting more in manual mode now and was too slow to capture their fun on my camera but I did get one shot, albeit incredibly contrasty (technical term 😉 ).

Bunburra: Indigenous touch football festival on the beach

Bunburra means beach in Yugambeh, the language of the Kombumerri, Traditional Custodians of the Gold Coast region. Earlier this month 20 touch football teams from across Queensland came together on the Gold Coast for the inaugural Bunburra Indigenous Beach Touch Football tournament on the Surfers Paradise beachfront. The players were aged between 14 and 17 years of age and represented areas including Inala, Bundaberg, Logan and Thursday Island and were joined by NRL legend Petero Civoniceva, Ambassador for the event and fellow NRL great, Scott Prince.

My role in this event? Nil, although I did have the opportunity to learn from local photography teacher Danielle Lancaster of Bluedog Photography, whilst taking photos of the event. Danielle was there as part of an arrangement with PCYC Queensland and the Indigenous Special Projects Coordinator. Photographing sport on the beach is not something I’ve done before and in the evening there was a spectacular fireworks display, something else I’ve never had the chance to photograph.

It was a magical day for all involved with plenty of competition, big smiles, traditionally cooked food, a fire lighting ceremony and dancing on the sand. These are some of my shots from this memorable event.

Two black doggies go to the beach

Summer means going to the beach and our doggies just love the beach. Loading up the car with bottles of water, portable drinking bowl and towels we headed off to the coast early in the morning to avoid traffic and the hordes of people that usually end up at the beach mid-morning. Bundy loves a car trip regardless of the destination, but Maxi knew that we were going somewhere special and once we got closer she could smell the salt air and her happy, excited face appeared.

Parking spots aplenty at that hour of the day, we chose a great spot by the water and under shade. As soon as the dogs were out of the car it was noses to the ground and it took all my strength to stop them from dragging me down to the water while Marty unloaded the necessary gear. Maxi loves to swim, Bundy loves to wade, Maxi and Bundy both love to roll in stinky dead things that they dig up and they both always end up covered in sand.

The car ride home is always a quiet one, Bundy lies down for a nap on the back seat and Maxi settles in her position so she can look out the window. Happy, tired dogs 🙂

Favourite photos for 2014

2014 was going to be the year for taking more photos, practicing what I’ve learned and improving my understanding of ‘manual’ mode. Not sure that I’ve succeeded on all counts but here are ten of my favourite photos from 2014, some you will have seen before.

Swell Sculpture Festival, Currumbin
Swell Sculpture Festival, Currumbin
Rainbow Lorikeets
Rainbow Lorikeets
Sunset on pond with birds
Golden hour
maxi the black dog
Ho Ho Ho Maxi
Agapanthus flower
Water drops on Agapanthus flower
Surfers Paradise, Queensland at night
Surfers Paradise, Queensland at night
Koala getting wet in the rain
Koala getting wet in the rain
Lizard in bush
Lizard in camouflage mode
Bundy the dog shaking himself dry
Bundy shaking off the surf at Yamba
Golden sunrise
Golden sunrise

When it wasn’t raining

The end of the year has been a mix of muggy, high temperatures, fierce storms and heavy rain. Christmas was no different. The day started off with a peaceful walk and a swim in a nearby creek and ended with me and my Dad sitting on their front balcony in the dark listening to the rain and enjoying the cool breeze. I took many walks during the time at my parents’ house, being in the country is so refreshing for me and seeing all the different wildlife makes me happy even if I couldn’t capture them all with my camera. A trip to the beach was on the cards for boxing day regardless of whether it was raining or not, the thinking was that if we’re going to get wet we may as well go for a swim in the surf.

Bush to beach

A sample from Swell 2014

The annual Swell Sculpture Festival is currently underway at Currumbin Beach Queensland. Traffic was bumper to bumper and parks were scarce but after 20 minutes of stalking potential parking spots we were successful and joined the hordes on the esplanade at Currumbin Beach. Bundy always enjoys an evening stroll, he and the hubby spent most of their time people watching and patiently waiting for me to finish taking photographs. Here is a sample of some of my favourites from this years festival.


Little black dog goes to Yamba

Bundy the dog in the water
Bundy likes the shallow water

Early Autumn is a great time for spending a day at the beach, it is still quite hot with temperatures between 28-34 degrees celsius and we’ve had a couple of mini-heatwaves this March. Yamba is a beach town in Northern New South Wales on Australia’s east coast, a pretty spot and extremely popular during the holiday period. We had never been to Yamba, with time to spare and the weather in our favour we packed up the car and the smallest of our black dogs and headed south.

Hubby likes an early start so we were in Yamba in time for breakfast, a tasty meal of bacon and eggs on turkish bread overlooking the beach and headlands. The surf was what my husband calls messy, it didn’t stop the surfers from heading out into the water and there were plenty of people out walking their dogs and having an early morning swim. In search of a dog friendly beach we drove to the southern end of Yamba and came across Pippi Beach, a long stretch of sand and seemingly very popular with dog lovers. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were coming to and from the beach, Bundy would have loved to have said hello to all of them but not everyone loves an exuberant Staffy.

Once on the beach Bundy found stinky stuff to roll in, wet sand to dig up and he had a ball running in and out of the small waves. Bundy’s recall isn’t 100% especially when he sees children and other dogs, thankfully with hubby in the surf Bundy was more interested in keeping close by so he could watch for his Dad. There was one little dog, a honey coloured staffy cross, he looked as though he was still quite young and he was full of energy. That little dog ran up and down the beach chasing seagulls, his two legged siblings had a difficult time keeping up and every now and then his Dad would let out a big whistle to stop him from disappearing further down the beach. Bundy ran in circles with the honey coloured staffy, in and out of the water, stopping occasionally to check on us and possibly to have a bit of a rest.

All the activity wore Bundy out, the ride home was a good opportunity for him to have a snooze and snooze he did, I swear I even heard him snore.

Gold Coast at dusk

Rolling waves at Burleigh
Rolling waves at Burleigh

One of my favourite Christmas presents was a gift voucher for an evening photography class with BlueDog Photography, it entailed spending a couple of hours on the beach at dusk with a small group of 4 photographers and 1 instructor, each of us capturing different perspectives of our surrounds as the sun set. Being the least experienced (the rest of the group already working primarily in manual mode) my intention was to learn more about the technical aspects of low light photography, how to balance the exposure during a sunset and capture a shot of the city at night without upping the ISO and losing colour.

Tripod in hand I clambered over rocks and set up in the sand, my tripod is very light and easy to carry but I learned that it wasn’t really sturdy enough to cope with my camera and the 300m zoom lens and it wobbled a little, regardless I found a spot and set about taking photos of the surf, skyline and seagulls. With such a small group, it was close to having one-on-one tuition and our instructor encouraged me to experiment with slower shutter speeds and white balance to create different effects, the slow shutter speed was great for photographing the water washing over the rocks, not so good with seagulls who have a tendency to move as they keep a watchful eye out for food. One of the most useful tools a photographer has for changing the perspective and getting creative is their feet, not content with staying in one spot I moved around a little, wary of soft sand and water creeping in as the waves rolled over the rocks. I have to admit, I struggled with composition a little and my photos all look very similar, in the end I didn’t worry so much and instead focused on the effects I could get experimenting with shutter speed and white balance.

What did I learn?

  • A cable or wireless remote is essential for avoiding the wobbles and getting a sharp image (don’t leave it behind)
  • Take a torch, it is useful for changing the settings on your camera in the dark
  • Adjusting the white balance to ‘cloudy’ provides a cool effect to a night time shot of a city skyline
  • You don’t have to up the ISO to get a great night time shot if you have a tripod and a remote
  • Focus on what it is you want to get out of the activity
  • I must get a more sturdy tripod

Overall it was a fun evening, and I got a few shots that I was happy with even though a couple of them could be a little sharper, doing these types of classes really does encourage me to get out and about a little more and experiment with my photography – just have to choose my next location (within driving distance) and go.