Monthly Archives: October 2007

There and Back Again

Yes I stole the title from Tolkien and Bilbo Baggins – but it’s a great title and I’m just borrowing it for a bit.

As I sit in Perth airport (free wifi yay!) waiting for the first of the three flights that will ultimately bring me home I find that time has somehow been warped. On one hand it seems like yesterday that I left and touched down in Darwin. On the other hand it feels like at least half a year ago that I left; I have seen and experienced so much and traveled tens of thousands of kilometers and it feels like it must be a really long time ago. I tend to remember most things like they were yesterday (memories don’t really fade for me) so that makes it even more confusing! Time or at least the perception of time is a very funny thing.

There and Back Again.

‘There’. The ‘There’ part was fantastic and really was everything I had hoped for. I had an absolutely brilliant 70 days of traveling and photography. I did all the stuff I had planned and much more and was so lucky to get some unique experiences like the Flemming’s Hawk Dreaming Tour. I worked hard as a photog and generally got the photos I planned and feel I got quite a few good ones. I experienced so many things and met so many funny people. I flew in helicopters, I walked the rainforest, I walked the desert, I climbed gorges and mountains, I saw snakes, crocs, lizards, roos, bugs and not to mention mosquitoes up close, I saw spectacular landscape and aboriginal art in Hawk Dreaming very few others have seen, chased the sun, chased thunderstorms, slept in bush camps with kangaroos jumping around, watched Humpback whales…attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion (no wait that wasn’t me). Yes – the ‘There’ part was fantastic!

‘Back again’. On the very first page of my Moleskine trip diary under 21st of August I wrote “A new beginning” – it still is! (It’s still bad writing as well but never mind). Sitting here I feel great, tired, but great, and I am ready for the ‘Back Again’ part and the next “new beginning”. 70 days of full on traveling and photography and I now need a pit-stop. Can’t wait to see family and friends, and get home to lovely Copenhagen and actually have a home again. Can’t wait to get to work on all my photos and see them on print. Can’t wait to ride my bicycle. Can’t wait for some proper coffee! (my favourite drink is Coffee and I’m fairly sick of the freeze-dried instant crap!). I’m ready to go home – but probably ready to go again after a pit-stop and when Winter kicks in! 🙂

As I leave Australia many moments from the trip flicker randomly on my internal plasma screen and I know the memories will last forever and it is just goodbye for a little while. As the sun sets on this trip it’s only fitting I end with a picture of my beloved magical Red Centre desert and the very last sun rays hitting Uluru on a warm peaceful afternoon. I will continue to post about Australia though, still have lot’s of things to show and tell you! So enjoy this for now, see ya soon!

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Chasing the sun

I am now also a Sunchaser. I am on the west coast and the best bit – watching the sun set into the Indian ocean and Western Australia sunsets are stunning! I almost forgot how good they are in real life and not just on photos, how special it is to see the sun fall straight into the Indian Ocean. So here’s what I did the other day (click for larger size):

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Get the train to Cottesloe Beach, sit and enjoy the 29 degree warm Spring day

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Watch the fantastic cloud formations light up behind the Indiana Teahouse

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Stroll the beach in the dusk light

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Watch some blokes decide this sunset is so good they have to jump in a boat and chase it to the horizon – and then wishing I had gone with them!

Perth

If you jump on a plane in Sydney and fly 5 hours and 4300 kilometers west you would be forgiven for thinking you would land in another country. Well, you don’t, you are now in Perth in Western Australia the worlds most remote capital!

Perth is beautifully situated right on the Swan River and presently home to an estimated 1,5 million people and that is growing rapidly due to the oft mentioned “mining boom”. Western Australia is rich on minerals (richest mineral soil in the world) and the mining industry is doing incredibly well. Fortunately Perth is still the way I remember it – an outback country town with a few highrises thrown in! A very nice change from too-hectic Sydney. Perth has that great laid-back remote outback Western Australia feel and almost all of the 1,5 million live in the suburbs so Perth CBD is very small (and totally dead and slightly spooky after 6pm). Most streets are fairly wide, most houses are only a few floors tall. Most of CBD is one big construction site at the moment though, trying to adapt Perth to the many new inhabitants building new highrises.

Been a long time since I’ve been here, spent a long time here in 1999 in another life starring another me. Bit weird revisiting (like a never-ending flashback) so I put myself to work straight away shooting pictures, my main reason for being here (the few Perth shots I have from 99 are shithouse, backpackers, alcohol and photography don’t mix). Here’s a few of Perth more at my gallery.

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Perth with purple dusk light as seen from South Perth across the river

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Perth at night from Kings Park

Outback Western Australia

I love outback WA, so beautiful and so remote. Just to try and put it into perspective: WA is about the size of Western Europe but home to only 2 million and the 1,5 million of those are living in Perth! So that leaves 0,5 million people for the rest of Western Europe!

Some day I will revisit and re-shoot the fantastic far north outback of Western Australia. The Kimberleys are one of the best spots in Australia. Not on this tour though, wrong time of the year to go far north now, pretty much has to be in May/June/July. Fortunately Perth is so remote you only have to drive a few hours north to get to places like these, more at my gallery:

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The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park

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Sand dunes of Lancelin

I need a holiday!

Yeah I know sounds pretty stupid to need a holiday but I’m so exhausted! This trip was always about photography first, holiday maybe second. But the past 3 weeks I may have overdone it and wore myself out as I tend to do, doing nothing but photography full time every day trying to get to as many shooting ops as possible every day. I love, live and breathe photography don’t get me wrong but it’s a lot of work. So I need a holiday. I also need a new left foot! Something wrong with the one I have now, something happened to it doing those 200 kilometers walking in Sydney. My left shoulder is not really keen on the heavy camera bag anymore either. So these last few days of my trip I have traveled around by taxi, taxi to and from Kings Park, to and from the beach etc. Soon I will be shooting my shots out of the window of the taxi and annoying the taxi driver to no end: “Just a bit forward mate. Stop. Go back a bit. Stop. Left a bit. No too far. Back. Stop. Forward. Turn around. Go right. There. Perfect shot. Ah bugger the light is gone…forward!”

Randomness

  • You gotta have your fun living in the remote outback. Which is why you will see roadhouses advertising “25 hour service, 8 days a week” and pubs in the middle of nowhere advertising “Ocean View!”
  • Ah the joys of photography at dusk. Mossie bites on my right hand this time! Where are the Germans, I need a bit of your mossie repellant!
  • Big sign on the Transperth train saying “if you witness criminal or anti-social behaviour on the train report it by calling this number”. Anti-social. Hehehehe that could be me, I’m not very social, not a real people’s person – so I better watch my behaviour on the Transperth trains!
  • Always take the weather with you – and I do! Have had fantastic weather the whole trip, even here in Perth (Spring is not normally that warm here) it’s been up to 27-29 degrees and sunny. Have had sunshine basically non-stop since 23rd of August!

Sydney, the giraffe and the mo-to-sho!

No I’m not talking about the fact that as a tall Scandinavian you’re taller than most people here. I’m talking about who enjoys one of the very best locations and views in Sydney? It is none other than the giraffes at Taronga Zoo! – have a look:

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My giraffe legs need a pitstop because I have walked several marathons around Sydney, the beaches, the parks, the gardens, the bridges and the zoo. Granted I didn’t run these marathons I walked them, but I still reckon I got a fair bit of exercise shooting hundreds of shots in Sydney – my legs certainly need an oil change and new tires!  If I hadn’t dropped and broken my gps unit it would have been fun to see the routes (and no my routes were not from pub to pub, actually been working hard here!).

Here’s a few of my latest Sydney shots – more new shots at my gallery.

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Got lucky and caught a brilliant fiery sunset from Milsons Point Click to see larger size

The classic cityscapes at night from Milsons Point, the best place to see the sunset and shoot cityscapes at dusk

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Governor Philip Tower reaching for infinity

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A busy Saturday sunset at Ms Maquaries Point! Landscape photographers, wedding photographers, at least 5 newlywed couples and tourists all compete for that famous picture! A funny sight, the newlyweds were actually queuing to get their shots.

I like visiting Sydney and I love photographing Sydney – but it really is too big and busy and “mega-city” for me, too many people and wouldn’t want to live here. It’s all relative of course; I visited my mate Augusto here and he and his girlfriend lived in London before and they find this fairly quiet in comparison! Well, basically anything that isn’t me and a red desert I find too busy 🙂

My hotel is in Darling Harbour and as I got in the taxi at the Sydney airport and told the driver where I was going he (from Asia) asks me
“ah you go to mo-to-sho?”
Ehh…sorry mate, what? He repeats “mo-to-sho” 3 times and I just simply cannot hear what he is saying with the asian accent and I feel really embarrassed and stupid but I don’t understand a word, sounds like he’s shouting something from a Karate movie (“ka-ra-tei” as Ross would say in FRIENDS).
He then finally points to a flyer that says “Motor show at Darling Harbour”…
“ahhh, a motor show” I say and feel stupid…
“yes” he repeats, “the mo-to-sho! Many cars!”

And now for something completely different

Watching the news in Australia can be a weird experience but this week was special.
Australia can be so backwards sometimes you think it’s the 1950’s with weird moral issues and double standards. Especially in the cities, in the outback people are a bit more the more pioneering independent liberal type. But the “stuck-in-suburbia and morally offended by everything and the government should do something” person here is genuinely scary.  Australia is also incredibly far away from everything else and that is reflected in the news, you’re lucky to get one international story on the news and I have to use the internet to keep me up to date.

Australians hold sport stars in higher regard than anyone else and expect them to be the perfect role models of society. The no. 1 story on the news a few days ago was Ben Cousin (Australian Football player) getting caught with drugs again. Bad, yeah, but not like a national emergency I should think – but even the prime minister John Howard comments on this story as if the footballer let the entire nation down in battle and shot one of his own men in the back! Same a few months ago when Rugby legend Andrew Johns revealed he had done drugs for years after getting caught with an E. I think if our Crown Prince Frederik was found shooting heroin the outrage would still not match what we see here!

Thankfully for Ben Cousins the Chaser team (brilliantly funny team doing a great satirical TV-show on channel ABC) took the attention by doing a very dark funny satirical song about how people are glorified out of proportion after death (“even wankers turn into top blokes after death”) using Lady Di, Steve Irwin, John Lennon (singing “married a nutbag and his songs were never quite as good as Paul’s” hehehe!) etc. as examples. On the edge and offensive yeah, but it’s a dark edgy satirical show and don’t watch it if you don’t like this sorta stuff. But…the outrage in the news! And they were condemned by the Prime Minister again. I’m surprised the ABC building wasn’t burned to the ground.

Some of the bloody social commentators on TV here would not look out of place on FOX in USA and morning TV here is unbelievably bad and the news and TV channels generally are far too Americanised. Yesterday there was a story suggesting  to make buying, smoking or possessing cigarettes totally illegal…cos they’re bad for you and therefore bad for society. Well yes. Like alcohol. Burgers. Doughnuts. Chips…why stop at cigarettes? Ban the cars, they kill the most of all! Well this is a country that still had a “whites only” policy until the 1970’s and you still get people here saying aboriginals are not human and that Australia has no history (oldest country on Earth oldest still-living natives…ring a bell?) and you’re thinking “what the F#$, is it 1788 and the first fleet has just landed here?”

It truly boggles the mind how weird and backwards this country can be sometimes!

Randomness

  • In the Darling Harbour shopping mall I suddenly was struck by the sight of a huge white plastic decorated Christmas tree. Bugger! Reality check! Oh well, most of the the Darling Harbour area is one big ugly theme-park piece of eye-sore architecture anyway so why not a fake white Christmas tree on a warm sunny day!
  • In a Mac shop I tried the new spectacular Ipod iTouch (basically the Iphone without the phone). The touch interface is incredible and the built-in wifi and Safari browser is surprisingly good to use because the screen is sooooo gorgeous and the touch navigation great. It really is the internet in your pocket! I browsed my Pbase gallery from the itouch and it worked beautifully, fast downloading through the wi-fi and great quality – pictures looked great and the text was rendered in classy mac style. I can see why people rave about the iphone, I will definitely get one of these, preferably an iphone running on the 3G network!
  • I mentioned them in my post about Australian rock music, but they deserve to be mentioned again – cds from Evermore and Eskimo Joe are on ipod repeat, they’re brilliant! My kind of indie rock!
  • Apparently Australia is desperate for skilled IT guys at the moment and it’s easy to get a sponsorship visa. Only took my mate Augusto 2 weeks to get a great job in IT and then about 2 months to get the temporary 4 year visa. It’s only temporary which is a big minus for me, but still…something to think about I reckon. Not to move permanently but would be very cool to be able to go back and forth and work both places – Denmark and Australia.
  • Still waiting for my hair to grow back to surfer or rock star length…too bloody short presently, aargh!

Joke of the day:

One time a guy handed me a picture of himself and said ‘here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’

Every picture of you is when you were younger!

It’s like, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I’m older.’

You son of a bitch! How’d you pull that off? Let me see that camera. What’s it look like…?

—Mitch Hedberg (1968–2005), from Strategic Grill Locations

Thanks to The Online Photographer for originally posting the above Mitch Hedberg quote.

Sydney

I reckon I can just post this sunset shot I took of two famous constructions and you will instantly know where I am (well maybe the title gave it away)

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Sydney. Good old Sydney. Home to more than 4½ million people (you could almost fit the population of Denmark in here). What could I possibly write about the Harbour City with the famous Opera House and coat-hanger bridge that hasn’t already been written? As always Sydney is busy and chaotic, very tall glass and metal highrise monster buildings on very narrow streets blocks out the sun and leads to an almost claustrophobic feel and there are just too many cars, buses and people on the streets. You’re constantly either walking into people or almost getting run over by cars. Pedestrians here do not know a red light from a green one and are justifiably hated by drivers. Sydney is an actual mega-city experience, this is not Brisbane or Perth (or Copenhagen for that matter), this is more like London. The outback has never seemed further away.

But…it is also an extremely gorgeous melting pot of a multi-cultural city with a great climate, lovely parks and gardens and that harbour with that Opera House is just so spectacular and there are so many places to go, see, experience and photograph. Sydney is very hilly and from a lot of streets you will have a great view of either the harbour or one of the parks or gardens. You’d be hard pressed to find a greater spot to place a city, it is surely one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.

During the day I prefer the parks and gardens but at dusk the city lights up with a million lights (don’t wanna think about the energy consumption, oh well) and it is indeed very pretty (again a bit sci-fi  looking to Scandinavian eyes). As gorgeous as all the lights are though, I still believe they should have kept the building height limit (like Copenhagen) and tried to restore more of the old buildings. In the brilliant Museum of Sydney they display some fantastic panorama photos of Sydney from around 1920-30 and it looks incredible, see here. Maybe it wasn’t possible, I know many of the old buildings were of appalling quality. Anyway, nowadays the highrises rule most of Sydney and here’s some of my shots of the light show that is Sydney at dusk, many more at my gallery and many yet to come in the following days. Click picture for larger size:

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Opera House at dusk after a storm

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Sydney skyline, Opera House and Bridge

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Darling Harbour at night

Fortunately big lovely parks such as Hyde Park, The Domain and Botanical Gardens still take up quite a bit of central Sydney. This is from Ms Maquaries Point in The Domain, I reckon my favorite spot in Sydney with an outstanding 270 degree view of the harbour and no traffic:

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

One very sad part of the areas history is that Sydney is the spot of the original British First Fleet settlement (a lot of people would rather use the word invasion ‘cos that’s what it actually was). As a direct result the several thousand (maybe up to 10 000) aboriginal people living here took the very brunt of the invasion and were practically wiped out leaving very little of their history. Makes me incredibly sad when I read the stories of some 40-50 thousand years of aboriginal life here and how it was ended in no time. Sigh. Never underestimate stupid people in large numbers (or in this case – stupid people with guns).

Warning – biblical plague ahead, keep mouth closed!

A little word of advice if you visit Sydney during October – try and keep your mouth closed to prevent eating too many moths! Presently Mother Nature is having a go and fighting back – in biblical plague style! We’re apparently in the middle of the annual moth migration, where moths migrate to the Southern mountains. This year it is much worse than normal and there may be at least 4 and a half million people here but presently the moths have the humans outnumbered! They’re absolutely everywhere and some buildings (for some reason they particularly go after Government buildings near Circular Quay!) have practically been eaten by the moths! It is unreal, you walk past some buildings near Circular Quay and the buildings are just covered in 1½-2 centimeter large moths. See this news article for a picture and more explanation. Unless you actually like moths – keep your mouth closed as you walk the street or you will definitely taste quite a few!

Randomness

  • I don’t do any jogging in Sydney I must admit. I am so exhausted, the city is too big! To get around to all the spots I want to shoot I end up walking 15-20 kilometers every day in the hilly steep streets of Sydney (with heavy camera bag) and my feet and legs kill me every night!
  • My energy level is back to normal after a weird Monday where I was so tired I actually fell asleep sitting in Hyde Park.
  • Turns out an acquaintance of mine from Copenhagen is living here at the moment, so catching up with him will be fun.
  • Weather here in Sydney has generally been good, sunny and 21-25 degrees most days. It’s Spring though so you have to expect everything. A thunderstorm can appear super quickly as it did Friday and Saturday. Tuesday it was 33 degrees and so warm, then the cold wind came in from the South in the afternoon and the temperature dropped like a rock. Today it has been a very chilly bloody freezing cold 19 degrees but it’s supposed to get warm again tomorrow.
  • Here’s a question for you: Would you have done it? Let’s backtrack: I sit in Brisbane airport, a guy approaches me, he wears boots and work clothes and he has an envelope with some papers and this small metal registration plate with some text and license numbers. It’s for a delivery truck and he really needs this on the plane to Sydney and delivered to a guy waiting at the Hertz counter, he’ll pay me 20 bucks to bring it to Sydney. I chat with him, he seems cool and there’s no way the envelope can contain anything (visible anyway, I examine it, it’s a letter, a metal plate and an envelope, that’s it). I think about it and I say no. I simply cannot bring anything on a plane that isn’t mine I tell him. He understands and tries his luck with some other passengers. I felt a little overly paranoid saying no to him, but on the other hand it’s not a good idea to carry stuff that isn’t yours.
    Would you have helped him, was I super paranoid saying no?

Rock music from "a land down under"

Powderfinger & Silverchair on tour together A post – not about photography for a change – but about my favorite Australian bands. Australian music you say? What, stuff like “I come from a land down under” by Men at Work? Yeah but there’s heaps more besides the internationally known stuff like AC/DC (the ultimate classic rock act I reckon), Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia etc – read on!

MJ Thriller I love music, absolutely love it. I listen to music practically every moment I am awake. I love going to concerts (although I don’t get to go as often as I’d like). Music is life! Music is the answer! I have gone through lots of different phases where I listen to one genre, but the recent years I’ve listened to really a bit of everything I am just extremely picky about what I like. 90% of all new music is shit (the computerized vocal of Rihannah is the most annoying sound in the world!) but then 90% of everything is shit (or shithouse as Aussies say). These days I mostly listen to rock (indie, melodic and also a bit harder), electronica, pop (if there’s such a genre anymore) and indie. I grew up in the 80s which means that Michael Jackson (say what you want about him but Thriller is the best album of all time), Depeche Mode and U2 are my all time fave artists in that order. These days bands like Powderfinger, Mew, Blue Foundation, Death Cab for Cutie, Trentemøller and Snow Patrol gets played heaps!

I’ll just briefly interrupt this with a little plug for my cousin Søren’s band from Copenhagen, please check out his band The Black Volts !

Naturally I tend to listen to a fair bit of Australian music especially when I’m here. You get all the latest worldwide radio hits here as well but apart from that rock music in all forms does really well, I think better than most places in the world and there are a lot of great Australian rock acts. Enough of the talk, here’s some Aussie rock and indie recommendations. I’ve linked to their Myspace (even though I hate myspace.com) pages so you can easily have a listen.

powderfinger Powderfinger – Australias biggest band presently and easily one of my all time favorites. Some say they’re sorta the U2 of Australia, but there’s a reason for that: They’re brilliant! The latest 3 albums (Odyssey No. 5, Vulture Street and Dreamy Days at Hotel Existence) are quite different and each have a theme – so start off by getting all the latest 3 cds! Singer Bernard Fanning has also done a solo album, recommended as well.

Silverchair – has grown into a really great band with their very own sound. Latest stuff is very cool.

Evermore -Fantastic indie rock with big panoramic cinematic sound.

Kisschasy – good guitar driven rock, scores high points as well for actually singing with an Australian accent!

Eskimo Joe – great rock; sorta indie rock I guess.

Something for Kate – classic Australian rock band.

Butterfly Effect – Amazing sound, quite hard rock with super big widescreen cinematic sound.

 Jet – most of the world knows “are you gonna be my girl”, check out the rest of their great stuff.

There ya’ go – lots of Aussie rock acts for you to check out so get listening!

Randomness

  • I have now made it to Sydney so next photography post will be about the harbour city which is as always huge, chaotic, with heaps of people everywhere – but also super gorgeous and Spring weather here is beautiful, sunny and 23-28 degrees!
  • Language watch: I’ve noticed a lot of young Aussies ending sentences with “ey” as a sort of exclamation point to the sentence; to underline it. Like “this is really good, ‘ey!”. I asked a guy working in HMV for the latest Kisschasy cd and he replied “oh you’re going to the concert tomorrow, ‘ey!” Sounds really weird, I hope it’s just a phase for them!
    The word “shithouse” is also commonly used, something really bad is not just shit, it’s shithouse. Actually I guess it would be shithouse, ey!
  • I will be back in Denmark in only two weeks. Bit strange; but then I’ve done and seen so much in so many different places down here that 21st of August seems like half a year ago to me. Fatigue is almost beginning to set in at least today I am very tired. I’ve been to so many extraordinary places and so many tours (presently I’ve had enough tours, glad to be on my own in Sydney) that the extraordinary almost becomes ordinary at some point. Also it’s quite a bit of work when you travel with photography as your job and no. 1 priority every day. I am always scouting locations, planning how to get shots; at what time of day to be there etc. I get up early to shoot in the morning light, then scout locations, relax,maybe a nap and waiting for late afternoon where I start shooting again. Then back to room with all my gear, fire up laptop and transfer all of today’s work, make back-ups etc. I love it, but it requires more energy than I have today.
    It will be good to get home, see family and friends, really start pushing my photography business (got 2500+ new photos in my library) and think about future (all ideas welcome hehe).
    So I’m alright with the fact that this photo odyssey is about to end. Anyway if it didn’t end how would a new one begin! I do wish I could take the weather home with me, hello winter-depression!

Stormchasing in Brisbane

“Everywhere you go – always take the weather with you” goes the classic song from aussie band Crowded House and so far I have done just that. The first day I got to Brisbane it was cloudy, windy and only 22-23 degrees (bloody freezing cold when you come from tropical Cairns!). The next day it was warm and sunny and as Spring has really hit Brisbane the temperature and humidity has gone up every day since with some 33-34 degree days! So I have indeed brought the weather with me. Spring in Brisbane has added something I didn’t bring: thunderstorms! It’s a natural part of Spring in the tropics and the last few days have brought some impressive storms late afternoon and some much needed rain for Brissy.

Storms and the dramatic cloud formations and lightning are excellent for photography – just make sure you can quickly find some cover so you and your equipment doesn’t drown and/or get hit by lightning! Tropical storms can come and go fast! I managed to chase and catch a Brisbane thunderstorm the other day at sunset and here’s a one hour sequence (as always click on picture to see large size):

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

5.33 pm – sunset, something is going on in Sky Theater

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.03 pm – a storm definitely on it’s way!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.10 pm – storm is here – run Forest, run for cover now!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.30 pm – I am safe under a roof at the Eagle Street Pier shooting lightning

The shot at 6.10pm was shot just as the rain was coming – I ran for cover and made it to the Eagle Street Pier just as the very heavy rain hit. It was a fairly impressive storm; it raged for about 30 minutes and then it was gone as quickly as it appeared. It was heaps of fun chasing and shooting it, from where I shot I knew I could get to cover in 2 minutes so no worries. Also very cool to get shots with actual lightning in it, a first for me. I know it’s not the worlds largest bolt of lightning but hey it’s there and I captured it and feel I can now add ‘Stormchaser’ to my business card!

There are a few more new Brisbane shots in my gallery.

Randomness

  • My hair was fairly long when I got here, it grows fast as it is and I think the sun here helped it even more (and bleached it as well). So it was longer than ever and I had two choices: get a haircut or buy a surfboard (to go with my long bleached surfer hair). I opted for the haircut. Now; of course I made the mistake of saying the words “it’s too long; you can cut a fair bit off” to a hair dresser ‘cos they just love doing very short David Beckham style cuts and I am no Beckham. Bugger! Now it is too bloody short. I should have gone for the surfboard. Grow hair, grow!
  • These are tough times. The Australian national Rugby team (called The Wallabies) has been playing in the Rugby World Championship in France. Now, no one plays Rugby like the Aussies and The Wallabies are the best bloody Rugby team in the world bar none strewth! Nothing short of winning the finals is acceptable; actually Australia should just be named World Champs of all time. Unfortunately, real life got it the way and last Saturday Australia lost to England in the quarter final. Not only did the Wallabies lose in the quarter finals…but to England. No no no no 😦 These are indeed hard times. Now; the only way to deal with this is the way Australians always deal with any defeat in any sport – complete denial!!! “No that never happened, we never lost to England, England can’t play rugby!”

Quote of the day:

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it” – Flemming Bo Jensen

I take credit for this one 🙂 I know I probably didn’t invent it but I’ve used it heaps especially at work!

Fraser Island

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Spectacular 75 mile beach on Fraser Island

“I really need a toilet!!!!” says the French woman rather desperately, almost jumping up and down on 75 mile beach.
“Well you’re just gonna have to use the bush toilet” I say. French woman then proceeds to actually ask our guide John: “where is bush toilet?” 😀 John smiles and then points to a bush in the sand dunes – and I have a hard time not laughing out loud as the French Woman runs towards the bush! Well that got me started on taking the piss out of everyone in our boring boring group – more on that later!

Fraser Island is one more UNESCO World Heritage area for this trip  (I’ve lost count now of how many I’ve been to!) and I must say it is pretty speccy indeed(speccy=spectacular, “pretty speccy” a great expression our guide Owen in Kakadu National Park used a lot). It is the largest sand island in the world; over 123 kilometers long. I didn’t think it was that big but I guess the beach named 75 mile beach should have given me a clue! Long stretches of gorgeous beaches and sand dunes are right next to rainforest areas and large freshwater lakes. It truly is phenomenally beautiful, pictures do not do it justice. You have to drive on 75 mile beach and experience the extremely fine pearly white sand and the crystal clear water in Lake McKenzie to really appreciate how gorgeous nature can be.  Fraser Island also has some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Australia. Contrary to popular belief there are not dingoes running around everywhere on Fraser, there are an estimated 100-200 left on the island (we saw 1 running across the road in the rainforest). You are continually warned to stay away should you encounter one, these are wild animals and may attack for food especially if people start feeding them. The rainforest on Fraser Island is actually just as spectacular as the beaches, Fraser Island was certainly first in line when Mother Nature handed out good looks!

There are no paved roads on Fraser so only 4WDs are allowed, it’s all very soft sand off road tracks and that makes for some great fun 4 wheel driving! I also did a fun scenic flight on Fraser that got me some great photos and a great experience – the plane takes off and lands right on 75 mile beach! I started off this post with a shot of the beach and the following is few more from the island; more at my gallery. To get these shots without lots of people in them took some patience and heaps of my how-to-avoid-people skills because places like the Maheno ship wreck were a circus!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

75 mile beach from the airClick to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen Landing on 75 mile beach!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Pearly white sand and crystal clear Lake McKenzie

Fraser Island really is a beautiful place as my photos hopefully shows – but also an incredible popular holiday spot and very touristy place! Probably the most touristy place I have been to in Australia I reckon; a fact not helped by the Queensland public school holiday so there were heaps of people everywhere in either organized tours or in rented 4WDs. 75 mile beach is a bit of a highway actually, so many 4WDs gunning it up and down the beach you really gotta watch you’re not run over (the police on the island actually patrol the beach and hand out speed tickets) . Fraser Island is a 45 mins. catamaran ride away from Hervey Bay in south east Queensland (4-5 hours north of Brisbane)  and lots of companies do tours or make big bucks renting 4WDs to tourist. There’s a barge to ferry you and your 4WD to the island and I reckon it would actually be super fun to explore the island on your own in a 4WD with some mates.

The way I got around the island was a 4WD (reckon I’ve used the word 4WD enough for this post?) full day tour from the resort where I stayed for 2 nights. Now, sometimes the groups you get are just great and sometimes they’re not so hot. This group took the prize though for being the most boring; most non-responsive group of “charter-flight-type-people” I have ever done a tour with. Not speaking to anyone but their partner(all couples); not responding to anything our guide told us (he just went through the script, getting no response or questions from anyone but me). They did end the trip with clapping (what the f#¤?) vigorously when our guide “landed” the 4WD back at the resort – therefore I conclude they’re all charter-flight-holiday people! At one point one of them pointed to my camera and said “do you want a picture of you in front of the tree?” I carry a very large camera with lenses + camera bag etc – do I look like I want pictures of myself in front of things???? No mate I am quite alright thank you. Btw no one touches this camera but me!

So I chatted to the guide a lot and interesting passengers from other tours…and I thought I might as well have myself a bit of fun in this boring boring group! The very funny bush toilet conversation with the French Woman got me started and here’s how I continued the day:

  • I cried out “snake!” every time I spotted a monitor lizard moving during a rainforest walk. Then watched half the group jump and scream.
  • Still on rainforest walk: I kept slapping my neck hard and mumbling “bloody mossies!”. Then watched Germans apply even more mosquito repellant!
  • Told German couple going north to Cairns to watch out for crocodiles on the Esplanade in the morning (actually potentially true!).
  • …and yeah basically made up stories all day long!

Had to inject a bit of life into the day! I am so spoiled anyway, after my very own Flemmings Adventure Tour of Hawk Dreaming no tour will ever compare!

By the way, nationality spotting is also good fun to do on a day like that although German tourists in Australia are just too easy to identify ‘cos they really come prepared! (For you politically correct readers, I am generalizing to make a point ok, it’s called sarcasm!) Speaking to tour guides down here the Germans are by far the most adventurous travelers in Australia (and the reason why the “Warning – Crocodiles!” signs are also written in German). They will drive their rented 4WD straight into a river – and get stuck – just to try some 4 wheel driving. German tourists in Oz: They’ve bought every single piece of clothing and equipment from the outdoor camping and trekking shop! Shoes, boots, pants, shirt – everything is North Face, Mountain Design or similar – like they were climbing Mount Everest. They landed here and immediately bought matching Australian leather bush hats from usually Barmah. They start the day by applying a thick layer of sunscreen and on top of that – they soak themselves in Aerogard mosquito repellant (not needed until dusk) making it hard for the rest of us to breathe! And they seem to carry all their adventure gear on them all the time in heaps of big backpacks and pouches and wallets! Should we ever get stuck we all need the Germans though – they carry enough fruit and water for the whole group! There ya have it – Germans in Oz, too funny!

Randomness

  • Tired of resorts now after the Fraser Island and Dunk Island resorts; happy to be back in Brisbane in normal civilization. A hotel room or a camp in the bush is more me!
  • Mosquito bites arrgh! Maybe the Germans are actually on to something with all that Aerogard. Shooting some cityscapes at dusk last week my left hand holding on to the tripod got absolutely tattooed with about 10 mossie bites in a few minutes. You know the most itchy spots to get bitten? Places where the skin is thin, like your ankles and your fingers. Nothing more dangerous than a wounded mosquito!
  • Johnny Cash was a genius! Driving through the bush ya gotta listen to country music. Other bands in heavy ipod rotation: Powderfinger, Silverchair, Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, Mew, Blue Foundation – and always Depeche Mode. And some new Australian rock: Something for Kate, Evermore, Kisschasy and Eskimo Joe.

Quote of the day (the ultimate compliment):

“Marge, you’re as beautiful as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.”

– Homer Simpson