Friday, 30 January 2009

Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

Above is my attempt to capture part of the Blue Mountains in a 180-degree panoramic photo. I took about six or seven pictures [hand-held] and used Canon's Photo Stitch program to seamlessly combine into a panoramic view.

The World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains Area is about 10,000 square kilometres and consisting of seven National Parks and one conservation area. It is located about 50 kilometres west of Sydney metropolitan in the state of New South Wales. "Consisting of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges of up to 760 metres in depth, and has high points up to 1,190 metres above..." [Source: Wikipedia].

The name Blue Mountains came to be for the obvious reason that when seen afar, the mountainous range has a bluish-green-greyish tinge. Some believe that it is because of eucalypt oil given off by the eucalyptus trees or by light reflecting off the eucalypt leaves that populate the area. Another explanation is that it is caused by ultraviolet radiation scattering and filtered by particles in the atmosphere, similar to differing colours of sunsets.

One of the major attractions is the Three Sisters rock formation near Katoomba. Like most rock formations, they were created by erosions. "They" have Aboriginal names: Meehni [922 metres], Wimlah [918 metres], and Gunnedoo [906 metres], and according to some "quarters" the legend goes this way:

"The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo' lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.

These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.

As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come."

Some quarters belie this legend as the creation of modern tourism industry and not Indigenous Australian legend as such. What is certain is that due to further erosion, the Three Sisters would crumble and be no more in perhaps another millennium or so.

The series of photos were taken at Echo Point at the town of Katoomba. One can see the enormity of the formations, seen above; the people climbing and crossing the bridge to one of the first Three Sisters and compare that to the second photo above. The experience can be likened to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, except that these are populated by trees!

This is just a couple of attractions in these parts, not to mention the Jenolan Caves [a series of caves with wonderful calcite formations.]; and The Wollemi National Park, which "... contains the only known wild specimens of the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), a species thought to have become extinct approximately thirty million years ago, but discovered alive in three small stands in 1994."

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Double Sydney Icons

Anyone who has been to Sydney [I will limit to my icons, what I think to be icons that I have personally seen and visited!], would definitely agree that these two structures are most widely seen as the ultimate Sydney icons! Have a quick look at your old Aussie postcards and most likely one of these will be in it!

Quick info regarding these two icons:

Sydney Harbour Bridge - is the older of the two structures which opened in 19 March 1932. Also known affectionately as the "Coat hanger" due to its uncanny resemblance to a coat hanger. Nowadays there is a company that offers a "bridge climb" to the apex of the bridge. I have not done it myself but I would one of these days. There are also footpath or pedestrian sections as well as train lines straddling the bridge. Click here for more detailed information regarding the history, statistics, etc. about the bridge [great old photos as well].

Sydney Opera House - is a World Heritage Listed icon that was borne out of an open ended worldwide design competition won by Danish architect, Jørn Utzon in 1957. The building was built in three stages from 1959 till 1973, with cost overruns and full of personality problems between Jørn Utzon and New South Wales politicians. Two great resources are the Opera House web site and Wikipedia article.

Above photo was taken from Mrs Macquarie's chair, near the Sydney's Royal Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Aussie Icons

Bus stop, Newtown

January is always a busy month for Aussies, especially Sydneysiders.

Obviously one starts with New Year and the famous Sydney fireworks' display around the Sydney foreshores.

Then on with the three week Sydney Festival [10-31 January], "a rich program of around 80 events involving upwards of 500 artists from Australia and abroad covering dance, theatre, music, visual arts, cross media and forums."

While this is going on, there's Australia Day, traditionally celebrated on 26 January as a National Day for most Australians. This is a very recent national holiday celebrated nationally but for the Aborigines - the traditional people of this island continent; find the date offensive. For them, the date symbolizes the start of first European settlement of their homeland.

On or about this is the Australian Tennis Open [19 January - 1 February], unfortunately for the home crowd there's no Australians in the quarter finals for both the men and women divisions.

Almost forgot the ever present, Chinese New Year!

In this series, I will try to provide and show some Aussie icons which make up the national psyche in honour of this busy and important month.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

I am scanning everything

Last of the kundol

"Last of the kundol", since I ate the last of the pack of candied wintermelon or kundol in Tagalog. Original scanned at 300 dpi [Canon LIDE20], no background except for the white scanner cover. Below is the same kundol with a black background.

Kundol on black

"Kundol on black" Canon LIDE 20 [original scanned at 300 dpi].

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Scanning as an art form

"More leaves - black" Canon LIDE 20 [original scanned at 600 dpi]

I've been using my scanner in a very typical manner: scanning old pictures [with the film negatives I could no longer locate], documents that I need to email or just certificates and diplomas for digital archiving [also a nice way to present your porfolio, resume', etc.].

While reading a photography magazine I came across the art of scannography, scan art, scanner photography or, my preference, scanography. Above is an attempt to digitized pressed leaves found in books that I will be giving away.

This was achieved using a basic Canon model scanner: Canonscan LIDE 20. Unfortunately, this model isn't too good when it comes to 3D objects. Fortunately I have another Epson Perfection 3200 photo scanner, which is a more advance model which I have yet to try.

At, the author best summed up this art form:

"Scannography is near from photography but also very different from it in many points. A few of them are the absence of perspective and of depth of field, the regularity of the light captured by thousands of captors. Some of these points are very different from one artist to the other. The material seem to have it's importance too.

One of the most interesting things about scannography is that it is a new way to see the things around us. It's not macro but can be! It's not drawing but has something similar to those documentary drawings done to capture the essence of plants or animals! It's not photography but it reproduces the reality with extraodinary precision!"

Aside from the site, below are some other links I've found interesting in my Google "research"; if you haven't been impressed and converted with my experimental scanography, these sites will!

Mr Mark's scanography Flickr site, click here.

Dawn's Scanography PBase site, click here. links, click here.

As Dawn put's it, this is a "poor man's large format [camera]. Enjoy!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Back to work

After a two-week holiday respite from work I am spending my last few hours watching my favourite foodie/travel show: Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation... sigh.... what a lucky guy having this dream job.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Friday, 2 January 2009

Albula vulpes

Albula vulpes aka Banana or bone fish [I know picture above is not a banana fish but my pet fish. That is the closest I could find of an orig photo without renting a scuba gear or reeling one.]

I am alive! I learned something new again today, and I am of those curious fellows that just need to know. That is what makes me feel alive and kicking.

Franco Dragone, in his “word from the director” [of Cirque Du Soleil’s production of “O”] says:

“Since the beginning of time, there have been hallowed places where people gather to explain the universe. For me, the theatre is just such a place: sacred, magnificent and essential.”

I guess for me, one of such places is the net. Not sacred as such but magnificent and essential; full of curious things, knowledge, wonderment, etc. It enables me to share my experiences, thoughts and passion for recording images [whether they are great or not is another thing!]. For putting what I think into words and especially to share my existence with friends and families [and the odd visitor]. My joys – sorrows, I try to omit as there are plenty of it out there.

The net enables me to discover new movies that I might like to watch, music that might be good to listen to, food to eat, books to read, advocacies worth belonging to: bits and pieces that makes life worth living.

I guess [I am always guessing!] a new year brings all these aspirations to mind. While I don’t make predictions nor about to start to stick to a new year resolution, I like to ponder about life and everything – sometimes serious at most times in an irreverent way. Life is too short to be too serious anyway.

So what brought on this “epiphany”, maybe because I have too much time on my hands [I am on holidays] or maybe because I am turning 51, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I rediscovered JD Salinger via Kala, hence the title of this post; that I managed to come across a little known tribal band, Kadangyan via Shrek aka as Palma Tayona. That prompted me to order some books about the Ibaloi at Amazon, if only more information can be had regarding these old time head hunters.

I am now listening to my new CD of APO [not just an ordinary copy, but an autographed copy, handed to me by no less than Jim Paredes - err after I paid him for four copies!] and reading a July 2008 copy of Australian Photography [God knows I need more tips and to practice taking shots!].

Thursday, 1 January 2009

After the festivities

Alcohol always plays a role in most festivities, at least in and around my family. This is especially true during the New Year celebrations, either to forget the past year or welcome the new year inebriated. Either way or whatever the reason; yours and mine, it works.

Staying up late, eating a copious amount of food, talking to friends and loved ones and drink one's poison - wine, spirits or beer; makes the conversation less formal, less tense and frank. Now there is a great way to start the new year: frank without being hurtful and true to oneself. There is nothing like starting the new year free and unburdened by the baggages of last year and a fresh new start to the new year.

Here's to 2009... let's drink to that!