Thousands of birds were frolicking in and around the lake. Careful not to sit on the freshly made droppings, I lay still with my camera, observing the lively sights and sounds. A trumpet like call caught my attention as a black swan glided gracefully across the water. Just like a small boat, it was followed by a large ripple of water. The swan demanded attention with its loud call, as it towered well above the other birds.
After it waddled out of the lake, the swan put on a spectacular show. It raised its neck and made several loud calls in a row. Out of nowhere a second black swan appeared. From that point the two swans were inseparable, waddling together across the grass before making their way into the river. I followed the two swans as they took me on a wild swan chase. It was an interesting adventure. What I learned is that swans can move very quickly and they cover a lot of ground. Be prepared to follow them wherever they take you.
There were a lot of bloopers. At one point I thought I had framed the perfect shot as one of the swans stood in front of the city skyline. As I snapped, the swan got ready to dive into the river. The result is hilarious.
After a wonderful experience, I was determined to return the next day. This time I ventured further up the river near the bridge, where there were plenty of seagulls and jellyfish. A few more swans arrived as I explored the area. There were four in total. The swans spent at least an hour preening their feathers on the riverbank, beside a shallow puddle created by the low tide. I watched them standing on one leg while twisting their neck in peculiar ways. Their flexibility and balance are incredible.
Each of the birds was meticulous with their preening, they were fascinating to watch. It seems like the swans carried on for hours and I'm not exaggerating. Their actions were very repetitive as they lowered their heads into the water before twisting their heads backwards to preen their feathers.
The swans carried on with their activities as if I wasn’t there. That’s just as well because they are known to attack sometimes (not that I’ve ever had that experience). Given that I recently had my camera licked by both an echidna and a goat, it’s a good thing that the swans didn't come too close. However, I did end up getting my bag wet and dirty from venturing onto the muddy river bank. It was well worth the experience though.
Overall I got some shots that I'm pleased with, as well as some more bloopers. I thought I had a good shot of one swan, when another decided to stand in the background and photobomb. It added to the entertainment.
I thoroughly enjoyed observing and photographing the swans. I learned a lot and will certainly be back for more.
'Twas the night before Trishmas and all through the zoo, not a creature was stirring...
It turns out that some of the animals had gone to bed early, in anticipation of Trisha the elephant’s 64th birthday the next day. The birthday was going to be a big celebration and the animals wanted to save their energy. Anyhow, it really was rude of us to arrive well after the animals’ usual bedtime. Trisha was nowhere to be seen, obviously having her beauty rest.
On Sunday 17 January, I visited the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, with a group of photographers. The photographers gathered in the gravelly car park before walking to the main entrance, where we were warmly welcomed. After a short talk and video about Kanyana, we were taken on a guided tour.
Our adventure started with a quick look at the animal hospital, before making our way to what looked like a five-star restaurant. It's the place where volunteers prepare delicious, nutritious food for all the animals. The ingredients were definitely fresh, you could tell because some of them were alive and moving. The food smelled so good that it would make even the fullest person salivate. There were also recipe cards which would make a top-selling cookbook. The quality of the recipes and the execution were so fantastic that they would make any Michelin Star chef look mediocre.
We left the kitchen and strolled outside to visit the enclosures. It was an electric atmosphere because there were electric fences everywhere. The first animal friend that we met was the echidna. I had a sensational shot ready, but the echidna licked my camera. Seriously. Who would have thought that echidnas had such long tongues? Fortunately I had some camera wipes to clean the drool off my lens. While I didn’t get amazing shots, I did get a photo of a plant which looked just like an echidna.
Our next stops were the enclosures with cockatoos, tawny frog mouths and a possum. I went inside and took an amazing shot of a possum.
Speaking of tongues, the final animal that we met was a blue-tongued bobtail lizard. Fortunately it was slow to move and my camera was safe.
Overall, our visit to the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was both an enjoyable and educational experience. The Centre does wonderful work for the animals and it's well worth a visit.
For more information, please check out their website.
Our adventure at Elizabeth Quay was the biggest and most ironic outing so far this year. Despite so many photographers turning up, none of them was named Elizabeth. Our meeting point, The Bell Tower had thousands of padlocks, but not a single key. Geez, Elizabeth Quay without Elizabeth and without a key. Who would have thought? Unlike our past few events, the photographers didn’t run around like headless chickens. It’s a shame because we had an excellent bird photographer among us.
We commenced our adventure by meandering towards the old jetty area. About five of us reached the end of the jetty and realised that none of us could swim. That was a scary moment because nobody could save us if a seagull pushed us into the water. As there were plenty of seagulls, we walked away cautiously.
During our leisurely stroll, we discovered that there is plenty of wildlife at Elizabeth Quay. We walked past a sign with quokkas that said, “See some friendly faces," before stopping at a very large bird sculpture, “First Contact.” That was my moment to shine, because I got a photo of the bird in perfect focus. At that point I had to remind myself that I'm not a bird, as I had my head too far up in the clouds.
Shortly afterwards we headed towards the ferry terminal before stopping for coffee and chips on the water. Our adventure ended with a spectacular view of the Elizabeth Quay Bridge (Macdonald's Arches) in the distance. The perfect way to end an excellent day.
For more photographs from the adventure, go to Gallery.
We met at the coffee shop before entering the Art Gallery. Thankfully it was quiet and very welcoming. In comparison, the nearby museum had an enormous line of people queueing outside. The museum line was just like mad shoppers waiting for the doors to open at the Boxing Day sales.
Once we were inside the Art Gallery we took our time to appreciate the diverse mix of art. Some of it was incredibly weird but very creative. Overall, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.
After we left the Gallery, we wandered towards the city, wondering where to go first. We stopped briefly outside the train station and encountered a few interesting characters, before heading to the Murray Street Mall. At the Mall there were some pop-up stalls. I was distracted by a sign that said, “free donuts,” before someone pointed out that it said G-free donuts. Gee! I didn’t see the G! Whoops! It’s a good thing that I didn’t want donuts anyway.