Last weekend, the WA Social Photographers took to the streets of South Fremantle. It truly is an amazing place full of street art, cafes, restaurants and interesting buildings, all within walking distance to South Beach. We started at the beach and strolled towards South Terrace. It didn't take us long to be captivated by the murals.
Our first stop was the untitled mural by Artbydestroy, a surreal looking underwater scene. The mural demands attention with its bright colours, geometric shapes and strong lines. The footpath at the bottom of the mural looks like the reflection of the image in water. It is truly awesome.
At the opposite side of South Terrace is an even larger mural, East to West Design Fresco by Graeme Miles Richards. The mural is so large that it was impossible for me to fit it all in one photograph. I therefore decided to take multiple photographs.
The art looks three dimensional and the attention to detail is impressive. The more you look, the more you see. It is cleverly done. There are many sections, each focusing on a different cultural theme. For example, French, African, Asian and South American. All of those themes blend together very nicely and the composition works well as a whole.
Above: East to West Design Fresco by Graeme Miles Richards.
I was mesmerised by the mural and could have looked at it for hours. However, I knew it was time to move on when I had almost lost sight of the other photographers. Thankfully, they did notice that I was left behind and they waited for me.
We continued to wander along South Terrace, admiring the buildings and the diverse mix of cafes and restaurants. The delicious smell of foods emanating from the restaurants enhanced the experience. Art works outside some of the the buildings were just as seductive and cleverly placed. A stunning mural is Zebras by Anya Brock, outside the Ootong and Lincoln cafe. The design is attention grabbing with its strong use of contrast and lines.
The photographers walked for almost three hours and didn't get to all the murals. However, we decided to turn back towards South Beach. It's just as well that we did, because the sunset was spectacular.
Sunset at South Fremantle.
South Fremantle is well worth the visit. It really is a unique place with plenty of character. I had an enjoyable afternoon and will definitely be back to experience more.
On 10 April 2021, Scarborough Beach came alive with the Brazilian Beach Carnaval. Dancing. Drumming. Music. Food. Lots and lots of happy people. We expected a big celebration and that’s what we got. Note that the Brazilian word for "carnival" is "carnaval" and their native language is Portuguese. This is important to know if you're a grammar nazi.
The warm and sunny weather was the perfect setting for a beach party. While numbers were restricted this year due to COVID, that didn’t hamper the celebrations. It was my first time at the event and I went with a group of photographers. We arrived at 2pm, just in time for the kids' carnaval. Having registered for our free tickets beforehand, the entry process was straight forward, without long queues as we anticipated. That was a pleasant surprise.
Another pleasant surprise was the music that was playing as we entered. The photographers smiled to each other while being welcomed by the sounds of children’s music, sung in Portuguese. It was a magnificent soundtrack as we explored the grassed area outside the auditorium. There were many food trucks with a diverse mix of Brazilian and international foods. The mouthwatering smells whiffed through the air, harmonising beautifully with the music and colours of the carnaval. As well as having great food, the trucks looked stunning with amazing art works and Brazilian flags. It is clear that a lot of effort was made.
Strolling around, we came across a foam making machine. Interestingly, there was also a food truck selling fairy floss, which looked a lot like the foam from the foam making machine. However, I was assured that the fairy floss was not made of foam. If it were made of detergent, the fairy floss could have been germ-free and COVID safe. If only they'd thought of that as a safety precaution.
The photographers reached the auditorium at 3pm, just in time for the dance session. The dancing was incredible, the dancers shaking their spectacular costumes to traditional Brazilian music. As part of the show, there were dance demonstrations where audience members were invited to have a go. The participants were obviously having a great time and it was fun to watch. While I was preoccupied with taking photographs, I became inspired to try Samba dancing one day. As a “non-dancer,” this is a big deal for me.
Lots of dancing - I'll be using these photographs to learn the moves.
Before we knew it, people were gathering to watch the grand parade. As they aligned the street, the COVID marshalls strolled up and down, managing the crowd. At the same time, I strolled up and down, managing my view by looking through the spaces between people. Being a somewhat shorter person, this was not a new experience and I knew how to get a glimpse of the action.
The drums were beating louder and louder as the parade came nearer and nearer. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Jingle. Boom. Boom. Boom. Jingle. Jingle. Soon we could see the dancers, drummers, colours, costumes, happy people dancing everywhere. It was clearly a joyous occasion. Suddenly, disaster struck.
As soon as the parade came near us, my camera battery ran out. Speaking of bad timing. It started flashing red, maybe it was trying to flash in time with the beating drums. Thankfully I had a replacement battery and changed it in record time. Phew! Just in time for us to watch the parade make its way across the grass and back into the auditorium.
The entertainment continued for a few more hours, partying hard into the night. Brazilians certainly know how to put on a good show. The carnaval was a lot of fun and I'm keen to go back next year. Hopefully by then I'll know how to dance the samba.
Lately I’ve been finding myself photographing ducks a lot. Some might say that I’m quackers to be walking around lakes, getting down amongst the duck droppings. That may be true, but it's a small price to pay for quality entertainment.
My photographs reflect the entertainment value of the ducks. As per usual, many of the shots are duck "bloopers," therefore not to be taken very seriously. This post is a recount of a recent expedition, which is typical of my duck chasing adventures.
An Afternoon at the Lake
From a distance I could hear the cacophony of quacks, getting louder and louder as I tiptoed quietly towards the water. Hundreds, or even thousands, of ducks were waddling around, pecking at each other or splashing in the lake. The smell was pungent. Despite the fowl* odour, I positioned myself close to the muddy ground, taking a punt on which way the ducks would jump first. One by one they jumped into the water, in all directions. I was too slow and missed them. I staggered to my feet, shoes covered in a brown mush of mud and freshly laid duck droppings. I followed the ducks to another side of the lake.
*fowl is a deliberate choice of spelling
As I snuck closer and closer, the ducks waddled calmly away. They did not even attempt to fly despite me following them. Clearly I'm not scary enough. Suddenly I heard some wings flapping and turned around just as one duck leapt into the water. I snapped with my camera and hoped for the best. Before I knew it, I had a good run of ducks leaping into the water. I managed to get quite a few shots, most of which were WTF (What the Fay) shots. Alternatively you might like to call them WTD (What the Duck) shots. Regardless of the choice of acronym, you have to agree that ducks look incredibly funny when they fly.
As if the leaping wasn't entertaining enough, the ducks started splashing as soon as they entered the water. I watched a few dive below the surface before lifting themselves up and opening their wings. It was a spectacular show, the ducks looked like they were conducting an orchestra.
My attention was diverted to another duck floating peacefully on the water. It twisted its neck around and looked like it was doing backstroke. I can assure you that the duck was ok. Moments later, it started splashing in the water, just like the other ducks.
Feeling content with the day's entertainment, I decided to pack up my camera and go home. It was going to take me a while to recover from the fowl odour, plus I wanted to remove the mud from my shoes while there was still light. I waved goodbye to the ducks, marching away to the sound of the quacking cacophony.
The smell of hot chips whiffed through the air as I bounced enthusiastically across the boardwalk. I was on my way to meet the other photographers, embarking on our latest adventure at Hillary’s Boat Harbour. I was super-excited about the prospect of meeting a Hillary.
We had gathered outside The Breakwater Tavern, which was already full of people. Music boomed from inside, setting the mood for our adventure. The event was eagerly anticipated, following a two-week hiatus. In fact, one of the photographers had trekked for hours from Baldivis on public transport. It was a huge step outside of his comfort zone, venturing into the northern suburbs and entering unfamiliar territory. He must have felt like Edmund Hillary climbing to the top of Mount Everest, which is very fitting being at Hillary’s. Fortunately, the adrenalin rush of completing such a trek outweighed the exhaustion and he was keen to continue with us.
Our first stop was the Boat Harbour. Given that the light was very bright, it was challenging to take a decent photograph. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but photograph a boat called Kalamari, before the photographers decided to head back towards the boardwalk.
It was a lively, festive atmosphere around Hillary's. There were several milestone birthdays happening at The Breakwater, including 30th and 50th birthday parties. We could hear the champagne popping and could see the gigantic silver balloons. Next door, the Old Wild West was going wild. During our stroll we encountered many seagulls dancing on the top of boats and on top of dolphins. Even the dolphins were dancing for a good cause, on a wishing well with a sign saying, “where dolphins do good turns for charity.” In the distance I couldn’t help but notice a boat called Wishful Drinking.
As we walked to the other end of the harbour I was distracted by The Go Party Bus. There was a line of very excited partygoers boarding the bus, ready to continue their partying elsewhere. Meanwhile, others were boarding the choo-choo train which was having its own party. The train circled around and around and around and around, playing the coolest music in town. The first song we heard was Baby Shark. After a while it was playing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Clearly it was getting dizzy from all the circling. Either that, or the party on board was THAT good. The ear worms were having a ball. If the choo-choo train songs didn’t get stuck in your head, there is always the classic song Under the Boardwalk.
The choo-choo train was clearly steaming. After sunset, its lights glowed while it continued to pump out steam into the night. The boardwalk was far from being a bored walk, instead being the place to board buses and trains. All aboard at the boardwalk! Toot toot!
The photographers got carried away with conversation and became dizzy watching the choo-choo train. Consequently, some didn’t take as many photographs as usual. On a personal note, I am devastated that we didn’t get to meet a Hillary. Once it got dark, we decided to embark on our separate journeys home. The Rockingham adventurer wanted to return to his abode before sunrise. This time he didn’t catch the train, leaving it to choo-choo around Hillary’s. By the time that train finally runs out of steam, Santa Claus may already be in town.
As a self-confessed Sculpture by the Sea enthusiast, I returned to Cottesloe beach on Friday morning, a cloudier and much cooler day compared to my last visit. The purpose was to explore sculptures that I didn’t get to see previously. Starting on the hill, I spent a lot of time on the grassed area, snapping away while dodging groups of school children. The ambience was enhanced by the music playing from a gigantic wind chime. It was heavenly. Looking down towards the ocean, the view was stunning.
Sculptures on the hill.
Although determined not to get distracted by the seagulls, the seagulls were determined to distract me. As I walked towards the sculpture of an upside-down white horse, a seagull landed on top of one of the horse’s legs. It stood very still as if it were part of the statue. The seagull could have easily been mistaken for part of the sculpture. Thankfully it decided not to poop on the statue, but even if it did, the colours would have blended nicely. Another seagull became jealous of the photographic opportunity and tried to steal the spotlight. The seagull modelling industry is obviously very competitive.
Sculpture: Heads It Is, by Paul Capor
Strolling down the hill, I encountered many amazing art works, as well as more groups of school children. Before I knew it, I was back in the sand next to the unmissable yellow sculpture. Beside it was a set of rocks which were intriguing. Being so popular, however, I found it very challenging to take a photo without people in it.
The serene mood of the beach added to the experience. Wandering along the sand, I decided to walk in the water. The excitement was so much that that I wet my pants. Actually, the waves of the ocean did it. I was extremely careful to keep my camera above water. Some might say that it was foolish to take it so close, but I’m just a thrill-seeker. Combining my beach walk with the sculptures, I was captivated by a group of seagulls surfing the waves. I snapped away and got quite a few action shots. At that point my camera battery became flat. Nevertheless, I was still happy with what I had captured.
Bouncing back up the hill in excitement, I was on a high in more ways than one. It was an AWESOME day.
I was on such a high that I went back the next day, in the late afternoon. Once again, the atmosphere was completely different. Firstly, there were many more people, being a weekend. Additionally, despite being late afternoon, the weather was hot and the sky was blue. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to take the same photos as the day before. Instead I took a very different perspective.
One thing that can be guaranteed is that no two experiences at Sculptures by the Sea are alike. I went three times so far this year, and each experience was considerably different. It remains by far one of my favourite events in Perth and a must-see every year.
A few of my favourite photographs
For more of my photographs, go to Sculptures by the sea
On Sunday 6 March, the Western Australian Social Photographers embarked on an adventure to the Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2021. I could feel the wind tangling my hair as soon as I stepped out of the car. Fighting with the wind, I put my hat on and started walking towards our meeting spot at the famous Indiana Teahouse. Once we had all arrived, the photographers were faced with the difficult decision of where to begin. We decided to follow the seagulls, just like the wise men following the Star of Bethlehem.
Our seagull GPS turned into chaos when more and more seagulls kept appearing and disappearing. They were having a fun day interfering with our navigation and photobombing our shots. One seagull even pretended to be a sculpture and another headed straight for the Indiana Teahouse.
We cruised through the sandy plains like the ships of the desert, admiring the sculptures while dodging people and seagulls. At one point we said hello to a dog on a leash. I tried to take a photo and it nearly licked my camera. There must be something special about my camera because animals have tried to lick it on several occasions now. Maybe it’s just me.
From a distance, I saw a line of fellow travellers who were standing next to the guiding light of a seagull. Just like us, they seemed a bit disorientated with their bodies facing in different directions. I guess it confirms a flaw in the seagull GPS, because even the seagulls couldn't decide which direction to go.
Turning our heads in a different direction, we couldn't help but notice a very pretty structure with plenty of reflecting surfaces. The photographers decided to take a group ‘selfie’ shot through the mirrors. It felt like Christmas, because the sculpture was exquisitely decorated with enormous handprints and what looked like a generous slop of ice-cream. Aside from the group 'selfie,' I took my favourite photo of the day at the same sculpture. After that we continued our snapping until sunset, the time when camels go to bed, and when seagulls are replaced by real stars.
Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is one of my favourite events in Perth and our outing was enjoyable. There is so much to experience and although we were snapping away for three hours, I didn’t get to see all of the sculptures. That’s probably because I got distracted by the seagulls and got carried away taking photographs. I plan to return over the next week to explore some more.
Three weeks ago a lonesome, masked photographer trudged through the streets as the rain poured down in Victoria Park. Upon his return, he told us about a mysterious mural, incorporating mask wearing figures. It raised a lot of questions among the photographers. Why are they wearing masks? Is the mask wearing related to COVID? After some investigation, we found out that the artwork was painted well before COVID, by a Mexican artist known as Saner. It sparked our interest in the murals of Victoria Park and we decided to follow in the lonesome man’s footsteps. Literally.
On Sunday, three weeks later, the formerly lonesome photographer transformed into The Pied Piper. The other photographers became the rats, prancing along the streets together. The fairy tale had a modern twist because instead of a pipe, he had a camera to lure us. Given that we're living in technologically advanced times, we had cameras too.
Just like rats, the photographers immediately headed towards the dingiest laneways and backs of buildings where the rubbish bins are stored. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have our COVID masks with us, they would have been very handy. Artist Saner was clearly onto something with his masked mural. Perhaps it was a prophecy. Maybe it was a reminder to wear masks when approaching the murals. At this point it's important to mention that the many murals in Victoria Park are located all over the town, not just near rubbish bins. The art works are impressive and definitely worth a visit.
Surprisingly, bin chickens were nowhere to be seen around the rubbish bins. Maybe the area was too scary for them. Perhaps they felt a bit intimidated by the mural that said, “Is this stupid bin chicken meant to look like me?” How dare they call bin chickens stupid! In the absence of bin chickens, we took a few photos and made them snappy before moving on.
The photographers frolicked joyfully through Albany Highway with their cameras, snap-snap-snapping away. We encountered a cheery man on a bicycle who rode past us and posed for a photograph. Unfortunately, I was not snappy enough and missed that photo opportunity. Not to worry though, he came back and posed for us again. That time I did get a shot of him.
We soon walked past a donut shop, Donut Worry, confirming that worrying is a waste of energy. Ironically, a police vehicle was parked in front of that shop. At one point, there was an ambulance there at the same time. In keeping with the theme, the shop next to Donut Worry is called Gosh.
Thankfully we didn’t waste our energy worrying because we needed it for our long walk. We trekked for a few kilometres in the extreme heat, just like camels in the Sahara Desert. By that point we’d moved on from being rats, although some photographers looked like drowned rats with their excessive perspiration. In the distance we saw what looked like an oasis. We walked towards the greenery which turned out to be Read Park.
When we reached the park, some of the photographers took a seat on a bench, next to the Victoria Park Community Garden. It was there that we finally encountered a bin chicken, walking awkwardly inside the garden. One of the photographers reminded me that bin chickens, otherwise known as Ibises, were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians. It was certainly our lucky day. Seeing the bin chicken was a very grand finale to our awesome adventure and we left feeling very happy. After we said our goodbyes I trudged back to my car, just like the lonesome photographer a few weeks ago.
Victoria Park is a paradise for photographers with a good mix of old and new buildings, cafes, murals and people. It is also very multicultural. For example, we walked past some Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants in close proximity of each other. It is interesting to note that many of those places confirm that Victoria Park is a worry-free zone. One of them is the Good Fortune Roast Duck House, which will bring you luck unless you are a duck. A particular restaurant that caught my attention is Cinnamon Vic Park, with it's very welcoming front door. Another place had Japanese bottles perfectly aligned, which can make some people worry-free. Finally, there is a place called Teamorrow, where the sun will come out. All that's missing is someone playing the classic song from Annie.
I thoroughly enjoyed my photography walk and I will definitely be back to explore more of Victoria Park.
Red lanterns adorned the plaza. Dragons, dancing ladies in red, stalls and fun rides all around. The smell of food whiffed across the air. Clanging and banging of drums, firecrackers exploding. Northbridge was well and truly alive for the Chinese New Year Fair 2021. While the Year of the Ox officially began on February 12, the fair was held on February 14.
It was my first time at the carnival and I met with a group of photographers who were there to capture the occasion. My attention was immediately drawn to the gigantic ox in the centre of the precinct. Given that the photographers arrived early, we decided to wander around the many stalls and surrounding streets until the official celebrations started.
We returned to the main area just in time for the opening ceremony, where crowds had gathered to witness the firecrackers, dancers, drummers and dragons. Even the State Premier Mark McGowan was there in a suit and tie. That's what another photographer told me anyway. Being a somewhat shorter person, my view was obscured by the taller people all around. However, I did find a small space where I got a glimpse of the crowd. Maybe next year I can get some stilts. There were actually some performers on stilts so I’d blend in perfectly.
By the time the opening ceremony finished, I had walked around a lot and lost the other photographers. It was a very hot and humid day and I could sense myself sizzling like a barbecued Peking Duck. Despite the heat, I continued to explore.
Eventually I did find one of the other photographers. He was sweating so profusely, I thought he had gone swimming. YIKES! It really was THAT humid. Thankfully we did drink plenty of water. After a few hours though, we decided to call it a day.
Overall, the Chinese New Year Fair 2021 was a fun experience and I’ll be back. Well done to the organisers, they did a great job of putting it all together, particularly given the challenges of COVID. Wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year 2021, let’s hope that the Year of the Ox brings good fortune, prosperity and joy.
Just like surgeons ready to commence an operation, the photographers arrived wearing masks. It was a historic event. Before the gathering I felt a bit anxious, wondering whether we would recognise each other. Fortunately our cameras and unusual outfits gave us away. Apart from the masks, the photographers looked more like clowns than surgeons.
Surprisingly, the humidity was extreme and some of the photographers decided to have a picnic before we even started. They were extremely well prepared with an assortment of food and wine. One of the other photographers had already wandered off into the distance, sending us on a wild goose chase. It was futile because we didn’t encounter any geese in South Perth. Instead, there were plenty of seagulls, corellas, ducks, pelicans and darters.
The unmistakable cacophony of corellas, white birds covering the lawn just like snow. There were thousands of them. I was lured to the birds and spent a lot of time photographing both the corellas and seagulls. It was a challenge because they flew away if you got too close, and they moved quickly. I spent a lot of time on the ground, trying very hard to not sit on the bird droppings. I suppose the mask was useful in that I didn’t get to smell any of the bird poo. My patience paid off and I managed to get some good shots of the seagulls.
One of the photographers eventually scared away the white birds, just as the picnickers were ready to move to a different location. We all went on a leisurely stroll to the Coode Street Jetty. The view was magnificent. In one direction was the Swan River and Perth City Skyline, in the other were catamarans, food trucks and people. The place was packed. We were later joined by a group of teenagers who started jumping off the jetty, into the jellyfish infested water. The jellyfish were enormous. Interestingly, I noticed a sign that said, "Do not eat mussels or crab guts." I was more than happy to comply with that sign.
By the time we turned around, the picknickers in the group had already disappeared. They had set up a second round of picknicking at a park bench at a spectacular location by the catamarans. We joined them and watched the sunset together. It was a beautiful evening with a stunning red sky. Both a shepherd’s and a photographer’s delight.
Having to wear masks was an interesting and memorable experience. While they certainly served a purpose for preventing the spread of COVID, masks can also be helpful when encountering rancid smells. I am therefore keeping some spare masks for emergencies.
A few favourite photographs
The Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip is a photographer’s paradise. There are endless photo opportunities with the building’s stunning architecture and exhibits. On Sunday I visited the museum with a group of like-minded photographers. It was my third visit since the museum opened in late November.
We covered a lot of ground exploring all the floors of the museum, focusing on the architecture while remaining weird for the entire time. Ironically, we were so focused on taking our photographs that we weren’t so focused on each other. The museum is enormous and we lost each other numerous times during the visit. It was a bit like Where’s Wally with photographers. The only thing is that we weren’t wearing red and white stripes, or glasses like Wally. It’s definitely something to remember for next time.
The museum is a playground for both children and adults, not just for photographers. There are different exhibits over five floors, engaging all the senses including sight, touch, sound and smell. The museum is very accessible. While there are plenty of stairs, there are also escalators and elevators. Additionally, the museum has a café for those who want to take a break.
Before we knew it, a few hours flew by and we still had lots to see. At that point, the photographers decided to go on an adventure to find the cafe. It is tucked away in the corner of the museum and like hungry bloodhounds, we successfully sniffed our way there. The cafe was packed, therefore it was a challenge to find a table. However, we did find a table and had an enjoyable time.
Things changed suddenly when one of the photographers got a text message saying that Western Australia will be in lockdown due to COVID. Initially I didn’t believe it. We stayed at the cafe for a while and watched it become empty very quickly. We were probably among the last people to leave. At that point we farewelled each other, not knowing how much time the lockdown will last. I personally didn’t let that lower my spirits though. I was on a high from the adventure and also from the coffee.
Overall, it was an enjoyable day at the museum with an awesome group of people. It was also a very good photography day for me, with lots of photographs that I’m pleased with. The WA Museum Boola Bardip is definitely a photographer's paradise. It's an incredible place to visit and a must-see when you’re in Perth.
Favourite Photographs from WA Museum Boola Bardip
Writer and Photographer
About my blog
An honest and often humorous recount of my photographic experiences. There is always a story, regardless of the photographs taken.