Our own backyard

Due to travel restrictions we have ended up paying more attention to attractions close to home.

In July we had a camping trip to Lorella Springs Wilderness Park in the Gulf Region of the Northern Territory.

More recently we had a midweek trip to Kakadu National Park.

I realise how fortunate we are to be able to travel while people in other areas are under much tighter restrictions. I hope these photos encourage people to plan and look forward to their next adventures when travel restrictions are lifted.

April 2017 events

Our month in photos

April was a busy month for us, starting with a family reunion weekend at Litchfield National Park to celebrate Brian’s 70th birthday.

Before we left we went to Nightcliff Dragons Under 9’s first Rugby League game of the season.

Joshua's first game with Nightcliff Dragons 1.4 (2)

The next JT?

Joshua's first game with Nightcliff Dragons 1.4 (4)

Go Cuz!

Buley Rockhole

Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (70)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (59)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (58)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (53)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (52)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (47)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (75)Brian's 70th - Buley Rockhole 2.4 (73)Buley Rockhole 2.4 (2)

Litchfield Tourist Park Homestead

The Homestead, Litchfield TP 1.4 (9)Brian's 70th - homestead garden 2.4 (2)Brian's 70th 2.4 (4)Brian's 70th 2.4 (5)

Brian's 70th Birthday dinner 2.2 (1)

Brian's 70th Birthday dinner 2.4 (88)Brian's 70th Birthday dinner 2.4 (93)

 Florence Falls

Brian's 70th - Florence Falls 2.4 (79)

Wangi Falls

Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (44)Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (49)Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (56)Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (57)Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (58)

Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (60)

Resting fruit bats/flying foxes

Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (62)Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (68)

Brian's 70th Wangi Falls 2.4 (73)

Resting family

Four-family get-together

Continuing the reunion theme, we got together for our traditional family and friends’ dinner at the Nightcliff foreshore. Foreshore get-together 3.4 (1)Foreshore get-together 3.4 (3)Foreshore get-together 3.4 (5)

Wedding Anniversary

Our 34th wedding anniversary on 9 April saw us having lunch at Chow on the Darwin Waterfront. Delicious South-East Asian food and my first taste of green pawpaw salad – yum!

34th Wedding Anniversary lunch, Chow (8)34th Wedding Anniversary lunch, Chow (5)34th Wedding Anniversary lunch, Chow (2)34th Wedding Anniversary lunch, Chow (3)

Easter Weekend

Pine Creek Digger’s Rest was our base for the Easter weekend.

Diggers Rest

Good Friday

Pine Creek Lookout, Watergardens  and Railway

The lookout (3)Watergardens (4)

Pine Creek Railway (1)

Pine Creek Railway (2)

Pine Creek Railway (11)

Hooded Parrot Pine Creek Railway (7)

Hooded parrot

Easter Saturday

Moline Rockhole, Kakadu Ranger Station, Bukbukluk Lookout, wildflowers, Miners Park

Moline Rockhole (5)

Moline Rockhole (4)Moline Rockhole (1)Kakadu Ranger StationBukbukluk Lookout (11)Bukbukluk Lookout (8)Bukbukluk Lookout (5)Bukbukluk Lookout (4)Bukbukluk Lookout (1)

Miners Park (1)Miners Park (7)Miners Park (11)Miners Park (4)Miners Park (2)

Easter Sunday

Umbrewarra Gorge, Copperfield Dam, kite, boot tree, sunset

Umbrawara Gorge (2)

Umbrawara Gorge (1)Copperfield Dam (1)Miners Park (8)Boot tree (3)Sunset (4)Sunset (1)Sunset (2)Sunset (3)

Easter Monday

Home via Burrell Creek. Robin Falls, Adelaide River War Cemetery, Manton Dam wall

Burrell Creek (3)Burrell Creek (5)Robin Falls (1)Robin Falls (2)Adelaide River War Cemetery (1)Adelaide River War Cemetery (3)

Adelaide River War Cemetery (6)

Rainbow bee-eater

Manton Dam Wall (3)Manton Dam Wall (5)

In the garden

Cavendish, Dwarf Ducass, 10 capsicum 7.4.17

Cavendish and Dwarf Ducasse bananas

Cavendish, Ladyfinger, 2 basil 7.4.17 (2)

Cavendish and Lady Finger bananas

10 tomato 7.4.17

Tomato seedlings

2 basil 7.4.17

Basil from Penni

Cathy's orchid 9.4 (2)

Kathy’s orchid – primrose scented

6 sprays fully opened 7.4 (1)

Six sprays on one orchid

Sunset

Our magnificent sunsets always enhance family dinner on the foreshore.

Rapid Creek 13.4 (2)

Day 27 Assignment – Enhance your Colour

For this assignment we were to enhance the colour of the sunset photo we took for our assignment on Day 3.

This photo was so dark that increasing the vibrance did little to improve it:

So, I made adjustments in Lightroom to contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks, then increased the vibrance:

I took it into Photoshop and cropped it to get rid of the footpath, then used the spot heal and clone stamp tools to remove the signpost.

Day 26 Assignment – Fix Dynamic Range

I call this the Clinging Tree because it has been clinging to the edge of the cliff by its roots for years and has even survived cyclones. This photo was taken with the sun setting to the left.

I watched Jim’s entire video but only used Lightroom to restore this photo. I made adjustments to the highlights, shadows, blacks and exposure and reduced the luminance of light blue, dark blue and yellow, while slightly increasing the orange.

1/80 f/8 ISO 3200 54mm

Day 23 Assignment – Enhance Tones

For this assignment we were to find one of our photos where the lighting or exposure was off and fix it using the tools in Lightroom and Photoshop we’d learnt about in Day 23: Control the Light.

I selected this photo from Day 6 Assignment – Stop the Action because Jim Hamel liked it but said it needed brightening in post processing.

This first photo is the original.

The second photo shows the results of my first attempt at brightening using the basic sliders in Lightroom and slight cropping on the left side to remove a partial palm frond.
I hadn’t made notes of the adjustments I’d made so I went back and the third photo shows the results after I
increased the contrast and highlights
brought down the shadows
increased the whites
brought down the blacks
and I removed the log fence in Photoshop.
Then in photo 4, I went a bit further and 
increased the temperature, tint and vibrance 
lowered the saturation  
increased the clarity 
lowered the dehaze.

Day 19 Assignment – Leading Lines

Create a photograph with leading lines that guide the viewer’s eye.
The lines can either lead the viewer into the subject of the picture or across the picture to the subject.
Decide whether you want the subject of the picture to be the lines themselves or something else.
I tried to find leading lines in a variety of natural and constructed situations.
I experimented with Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance my photos by using the exposure, whiteness, contrast and highlights controls; I used a vignette for the first time and I removed a person’s head. I tried out the luminance bar/arch but I wasn’t confident and need a lot more practice as I pulled it into some unexpected shapes with undesirable results.
The originals follow the enhanced photos below.
Elizabeth River Bridge from the jetty
Elizabeth River Jetty with the bridge in the background

Train tracks converging with the road approaching the bridge

Finn Road in the rural area before the bridge – accidentally replaced the original

Rapid Creek
Footbridge over Rapid Creek – two views
A grove of gumtrees before the footbridge
Cloud over Nightcliff boat ramp breakwater and Sunset Park
Golden path to the sun Nightcliff

Day 17 Assignment – Invite the Viewer In – Back to Front Composition

For this assignment we were to 
shoot a landscape scene arranging the shots using ‘back to front’ composition.
Concentrate  on the foreground.
Create a sense that the viewer can walk into the picture.
Try getting low, getting behind something. 
Look for patterns on the ground.

Day 14 Assignment: The Twilight Shot

For this assignment we were required to take photos in one location from sunset to full darkness so that we could experience the changing light and the adjustments we needed to make to our settings.

I found this chart when I was checking the time of sunset on the day. It shows the times of Civil, Nautical and Astro Twilight.


I started shooting at 7.12 pm and took about 35 photos until 7.47 pm when it became impossible for my camera to capture any image, regardless of what settings I chose.

7.12 pm 1/160 f6.4 ISO 400

Within five minutes I had to widen the aperture and Increase the ISO:

7.17 pm 1/130 f6.3 ISO 800

From 7.18 pm I had to use the widest aperture on my camera f5.6

7.18 pm 1/320 f5.6 ISO 800

At 7.19 pm I increased the ISO to 1600 but that made the image too bright and washed out the colours.

7.19 pm 1/320 f5.6 ISO 1600

I tried including some foreground after that and adjusted the shutter speed and ISO settings to try to get a true representation of the colours – f5.6 aperture being the widest on my camera used for all.

7.27 pm 1/100 f5.6 ISO 1600

From then until the end of Civil Twilight at 7.34 pm I turned the ISO up to 800 and adjusted the shutter speed to between 1/30 and 1/100.

7.34 pm 1/30 f5.6 ISO 800

After that, while I was shooting in Nautical Twilight, I increased the ISO to 3200 and adjusted the shutter speed to between 1/25 and 1/160

7.47 pm 1/25 f5.6 ISO 3200

My camera didn’t make it to the end of Nautical Twilight, which is probably just as well as it was past dinner time and we were hungry!

Sydney to Darwin – The big drive home

Sydney – Tamworth

On Monday, the first day of our 4200-kilometre drive home, we left Sydney just after 11.00 am and drove through the Hunter Valley passed vineyards, coalmining, horse breeding and sheep and cattle rearing country to Tamworth, stopping only at Wilberforce for fuel and Bulga to eat lunch.

We got to Tamworth around 6.00 pm.The information centre was closed but we managed to find the tourist park we’d stayed at before.

Tamworth – St George

We did a bit of shopping before leaving Tamworth next day, then stopped for fuel at Barraba and had a pitstop at Warialda Apex Park. After getting an hour back when we crossed the Queensland border, we stopped for lunch in Goondiwindi and visited the information centre and the statue of Gunsyng.


We got to St George just after 4.00 pm, checked into our cabin and went for a walk along the Balonne River.



St George – Barcaldine

On Wednesday we left St George for Barcaldine. On the way we saw an echidna, a very special privilege, scurrying into the undergrowth by the side of the road; and, a couple of herds of cattle being driven along the ‘Long Paddock’; again, not  something you get to see every day..

We stopped for lunch at Meat Ant Park in Augathella, then fuelled up and drove on to Barcaldine through Tambo and Blackall.

Barcaldine – Mt Isa

Before leaving Barcaldine on Thursday morning, we visited the Shearers Memorial and the remains of the Tree of Knowledge. 



Longreach
was our first top for fuel then Winton where we watched the reconstruction of the Waltzing Matilda Centre while we ate lunch. The original was destroyed by fire in 2015.

We had a pitstop at McKinley and fuelled up again at Cloncurry before arriving at Mt Isa around 6.00 pm..

Next day we intended doing a tour of the Hard Times Mine but it was closed for maintenance so instead we just had a walk around town, drove to the lookout, went back to the cabin for lunch, then drove out to Moondarra Dam.



Mt Isa – Renner Springs
We left Mt Isa at 9.15 am and drove to Camooweal where we stopped for fuel before crossing the border back into the Northern Territory and getting back another half an hour, so it was now 10.55 am not 11.25 am as it was in Queensland. 

We stopped at the Barclay Homestead around 1.oo pm and ate lunch, then at the Threeways for fuel at 3.10 pm before getting to Renner Springs at 4.15 pm, where we stopped for the night.

The walking tracks were shortened by the recent rain but we saw plenty of birdlife around the motel and dam.

Found this pair on our way to dinner.



Sitting outside our room after watching our last outback sunset, I suddenly had a green tree frog land in my lap! 
Renner Springs –  Darwin

Between the resident cockerel and the ‘ventilated’ curtains, we didn’t need a wake-up call the next morning.

So we started the last leg of our journey and left Renner Springs at 8.40 Sunday morning. We stopped for fuel at Elliot and Mataranka and had a pitstop at the explorer Alexander Forrest memorial cairn. We were going to eat lunch at Bitter Springs but it was closed due to a crocodile sighting so we continued on to a roadside stop just before King River.

After lunch it was less than an hour’s drive to Katherine where we fuelled up, then on to Adelaide River for our last pitstop before the final drive home, arriving in Darwin at 5.30 pm.


It rained for a week after we got home!

Well that’s it, the end of another journey. Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed it. Bye for now!

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Left Darwin around 11.45 am, off on our first roadtrip with our 9-year-old grandson Joshua.

The last time we did this trip was in 1994 with his mother Tara and her sister Aisling, then aged 7 and 10-and-a-half respectively, and my mother Phyllis, who was visiting from Ireland. We were on our way to Tasmania for Christmas.


After fuelling up we stopped at Tara’s workplace to say our goodbyes. It wasn’t long before we were on the open road and passing a herd of Brahman being loaded onto a roadtrain at Coomalie Creek cattleyards.

Our first pitstop was Adelaide River where we ate a hurried lunch of chicken rolls. Besides the heat and the flies, it’s hard to relax when roadtrains you know you’re going to get stuck behind are constantly rolling past.

It was 1.40 pm before the radio reception ran out. Yay! Time for Bob Seger, always the first CD on our roadtrips. Radio reception has improved – we used to be halfway through the CD by Adelaide River.

Not long after passing the Pine Creek turnoff we spotted a goods-train travelling alongside us. This was a first for us. We haven’t even seen the Ghan yet and I think that’s been running north of Alice Springs for over twenty years.

We got to Katherine at 2.55 pm and fuelled up at the first petrol station over the bridge, United. It wasn’t there last time we went through and that really threw us out – it was being rebuilt! 

Then it was on to Mataranka Homestead for our first overnight stop.


We really appreciated the airconditioning having been turned on before our arrival and the jug of cold water and chilled glasses in the fridge, but it didn’t take long before we were soaking in the thermal springs.

Preparing dinner proved to be a bit tricky between having to wash the cutlery and use our own bowl in the microwave, which doesn’t seem like much but when you’ve paid $124.50 you expect a bit better.

Watching TV was another challenge without a remote control. I tried looking for it in one of the drawers:

These cabins have seen better days!

Should have been time to get a good night’s sleep, but the insects that had managed to get inside had other ideas, they even got under the topsheet! But while we tossed and turned and fought off insects, Joshua slept like a log. He said it was because he had to sleep in complete darkness instead of having a night light.