I am quoting Bill Neidjie again; writing about his country and why he loves the bush in his book ‘Story about Feeling’ he says:
“We like white man alright. We like im city.
But city make you sick of it. Better this…”
I am now hanging out with friends in the big smoke; in Sydney. It is a culture and climate shock indeed coming here from Darwin; Kimberleys and Hawk Dreaming. Sydney is gorgeous but I don’t really like it anymore. Too big, too busy, too narrow streets, too claustrophobic, too many cars, too much traffic, too many people. No aboriginal presence like in Darwin, no history, no art etc. It is not Australia to me. The real Australia is the outback. I think I am going more and more back to my roots. Have no need or use for cities anymore. Just want to go back to “my country” – the outback. City make you sick of it.
It is also bleedin’ feckin’ cold here! Only about 20 during the day and 10 at night; I am close to being in suspended animation. I am used to 35-40 during the day, 25-30 at night. I can deal with the high temperatures; I actually love it. I can’t deal with the cold. Used to walk around in shirt, shorts and thongs (flip-flops). Now I wear 4 layers of clothes. For the people back home that know me: Yes you read right. I wear thongs (known as flip-flops in rest of the world). I have the photos to prove it. I love ’em! I certainly still hate sandals with a passion! And Crocs shoes! Hate ’em even more! But thongs good!
I am here for a few days to hang out with new and old friends. I am actually staying in a super nice house with friends who are not here. I’m housesitting while they’re in Europe. Ironic! I will shoot a bit here; but already have lots of Sydney images so trying to capture something different this time like this one:
I shot a stitched version of this, this is just a single shot so I’d have something to post. I find myself more and more seeking some sort of art angle on my shots and becoming less and less interested in reality. It’s reality but not as we know it. I capture the data and already have the final image in mind when I shoot the photo; I visualize the end product before shooting; an end product usually quite different from the actual scene. I capture data; but the end product is created in the digital darkroom – in this case quickly thrown together in Lightroom 2.1. The original data is still the most important though. Garbage in means garbage out!
I spent a lot of time sitting in the sun in the back garden of the unit I live in. It’s very relaxing and quiet, you wouldn’t know central Sydney is a 10 minutes walk from here. There are small lizards in the garden I play with. Until I get cold. I still wake with the sun, meaning 5.45am here in Sydney. Miss my country.
“You take a picture too with my camera yes?” asks Japanese tourist #20
“Ehmm, no I can’t I gotta stop now” I say…
“I am very very sorry but I have to shoot my own pictures now!”
I am completely alone at the Kangaroo Cliffs look-out with a gorgeous view of Brisbane; ready to shoot a long exposure cityscape. Not a soul around and the light is phenomenal, even a few clouds have announced their presence making the scene even better. I have camera and tripod set up and have already shot the sunset now waiting for my dusk shot. All of a sudden… a big bus of Japanese tourists comes to a screeching halt and about 30 people with 150 cameras jump out and run around all over the place! They all have to get group photos of course and take turns shooting the other 29 standing in front of the city – until they spot me! Now they have a photographer and I suddenly have 150 cameras! They’re all extremely nice and polite and I don’t mind helping them at all and shooting their pictures but after 10 minutes of shooting with a lot of posing in different positions by them and switching cameras and fiddling with buttons and menus by me (I hate digital compacts, impossible to use) – I have to say “stop, my light is disappearing, gotta go use my own camera, I am so very sorry!” So each and everyone of them thanks me a million times and jump on their bus and off they go again as fast as they appeared – and I have a funny story and just enough time to get the late dusk light and shoot this:
My shot of ‘Brisneyland’ at dusk, from Kangaroo Cliffs look-out
Brissy, Brisvegas, Brisneyland…Brisbane seems to attract a lot of nicknames from everyone not living here. Most locals will tell you though that this is just jealousy from Aussies from the South! Brisbane is now recognised as one of the best cities to live in Australia and Brisbane is the fastest growing city down here, growing at a rate of about 1000 people moving here a week! The population of Brisbane is currently around 1,7 million although that number is an estimate; no one seems to know the actual number. Like a lot of places in mid- and southern Australia Brisbane is in the middle of the the worst drought in recorded history, quite critical really and we’re on level 5 water restrictions here and you really have to watch your use of water. There’s something like 17% of the normal water level in the water reserves and Brisbane could potentially run out of water a year from now unless some serious rain saves everyone come Summer. Scary stuff but reality for a lot of Australians!
I really like Brisbane, it’s a lot like Copenhagen – all the perks of a big city but without actually being a big city. It’s still small and compact enough that you can get around easily on foot and the Brisbane River and the parks and botanical gardens makes sure that the huge highrises are not allowed to completely dominate the landscape. The architecture could not be more different to Copenhagen; most buildings are brand new and very tall steel, concrete and glass highrises dominate the cityscape and reach for the sky (see my shot to the left) giving it a bit of a Metropolis or Blade Runner sci-fi look to Scandinavian eyes. The river is utilised extremely well with lots of boardwalks and public spaces overlooking the river and providing heaps of spots to shoot from! Add all of this up and you have one brilliant town for me to shoot some cityscapes (something I believe I am rather good at) at dusk where all the lights here come alive and mix with the light of dusk – by far best time to shoot cityscapes (and get attacked by swarms of mozzies!).
Here’s a few of the best, many more in my gallery:
It was a culture shock landing here though. After spending over a month in places like Darwin, Uluru and Cairns I wasn’t prepared for hectic big-city life, noise, shops, traffic and people absolutely everywhere etc. The first day I got here it was windy and cold (only about 22-23c degrees) and I was freezing. Well the heat is back, ever since then it’s been close to 30c degrees every day and sunny! I do miss one thing though: the outback and the outback feel of much smaller cities like Darwin and Cairns. There’s nothing even remotely outback about Brissy, this is big-city life!
- Emo-kids. What a strange phenomenon (albeit not one that should bother anyone they don’t seem to bother anyone, they’re just…dark and emotional I guess). Maybe you know them, maybe you’ve seen them (they seem to spread worldwide, like an epidemic you find them everywhere). Here’s Wikipedia’s definition. I saw no Emo-kids in Darwin or Cairns I guess in the tropics it must simply be too hot to be an Emo-kid and wear all those black clothes and the weather is just too good to be depressed and emotional! Either that or they’ve all simply moved South because here in Brisbane there is like a convention of Emo-kids and there are heaps of them! Must be Emo-Kid headquarters, maybe I have found the source and this is where it all started and the Emo-Kid queen is hiding somewhere here?
- Too everyone who wears ‘Crocs’ shoes (another worldwide epidemic, pandemic I believe it’s called) I apologise beforehand….But please take them off and burn them and apologise for ever wearing them! Yes they look awful! Yes I don’t care you think they’re comfortable. No they don’t go with any of your clothes especially since you bought the pink ones. Yes it makes it even worse you bought Crocs for your entire family! It’s a pandemic I tell ya, world wide emergency and UN must do something now!
- Health, exercise and albatross update: The other day it hit me. I feel physically great. Really good. I used to get headaches a lot like every other day but I haven’t had a single headache since I went on this trip! It must be all the exercise I am doing hehe! Actually I am doing alright, running and exercising every day so I reckon I get as much exercise as I got back home. The albatross is presently making life dangerous for people on the Eagle Street pier boardwalk here in Brisbane. You have been warned! Btw whenever you fly in helicopters or small planes they need to weigh you so when they do that I can tell if I have eaten too many chips and need to run and fall over some more 😀
Quote of the day:
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. An Albatross running on Eagle Street Pier. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
– Batty in Blade Runner (with a small addition done by me)
I’m on tour next week (me and my band you know) so don’t know if I’ll have much internet access before next Saturday – see ya then mates!