Author Archives: Ray

The High Country – Mar 2020

I don’t really know what happened to 2019 as we simply didn’t have a Cruise, with our last one being in Nov 2018. Summer (for what it was) flashed past and then at the end of 2019 when the tracks re-opened, the bushfires started, burning into the New Year and causing us to defer things once again. Things have settled down now, other than flooding rains, but travelling to the East is out of the question as all the tracks are still likely to be closed and will likely be so for some time to come. I’d be very surprised if the majority of tracks will be open by 2021. But once again we were itching to get out and our only option was to go closer to home, which meant around the Thomson Dam and Licola area. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as COVID-19 and the statewide shutdown may or may not have impacted on crowd numbers, despite there still being a surprising number about on the first day,

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Weddings

Weddings I think are the sort of thing that you either love or hate. I don’t mean love or hate the idea or concept of a wedding, just the process. Weddings can be incredibly formal and drawn out, or quite informal and relaxed. Church weddings tend to be the most formal and solemn of all but, depending on the setting and the priest or celebrant, a wedding can be quite humorous and relaxing. Being a wedding photographer and/or videographer on the other hand is anything but an informal or relaxing occupation. I’ve done a number of weddings in my time, more than I actually realised, starting in the early 80s, and looking back I’m not sure whether there have been many that I’ve actually enjoyed doing. I came to realise long ago that you have to be of a specific character and temperament to enjoy wedding photography (and lately videography) as an actual full time job, and I have a lot of respect for those that do weddings year after year and do it well.

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Leongatha Show And Shine – 2020

I’ve often intended to visit the Leongatha Show & Shine, but for whatever reason I have always missed it. So this year I made sure that I wouldn’t be doing anything else or forget that it was on. I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at the size of the event and the quality of vehicles that were on show. I remember going to a show & shine event in Townsville many years ago and the what was on display was, to put it mildly, somewhat amateurish. Not a lot of effort had been put into any of the vehicles to make them show worthy, with wiring in many looking like a rat’s nest, as well as hoses and the like looking old and manky. Even though it was a long time ago, people had been doing show cars for much longer and doing so a lot better.

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A Change Of Pace

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly six years now, posting a new story once a week. It’s been quite a labour of love, covering all manner of subject matter and I’ve loved every minute of it. However, lately it’s starting to conflict somewhat with my increasing interest in video. There’s a lot I want to investigate when it comes to video and I want to spend more time doing so. but video is a much more intensive task than photography, which has been the mainstay of my blog along with the writing. What’s more, I’m constantly aware that I need to be working on the next blog story and posting the latest one. A couple of times recently I’ve almost forgotten to finish or post my latest story, as I’ve been too intent on my video endeavours. So it’s becoming increasingly evident to me that I want to give myself more time for video learning and production, but also doing a blog story every week is really beginning to strain the brain cells.

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Nissan GU Patrol Fuel Pressure Valve

It certainly seems that everything has to always come in threes. No sooner had I fixed the belt tensioner and the exhaust manifold gasket than another problem arose. Late last year I did an oil and filter change and at the same time decided to change the fuel filter as well. The Nissan Patrol genuine fuel filter isn’t an inexpensive item lately, though it’s supposed to last around 40,000km (with good quality fuel). But for some reason while searching for filters online, I ended up buying a non-genuine fuel filter that after some searching appeared to be a reputable brand. That was a mistake. After fitting the filter, everything appeared to be fine until I started smelling diesel and, on inspection, noticed diesel around the top of the filter and some stains under the wheel arch. The stain was fairly mild at first, but within a week had increased substantially.

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Nissan GU Patrol Exhaust Gasket

No sooner had I fixed the noise from the belt tensioner than another issue arose. Once the squealing noise from the tensioner assembly was sorted out, a Banshee screeching started to make itself known in the engine bay. Our local Nissan dealer thought that the problem could be a leaking exhaust manifold, so I did more checking and I discovered a leak where the exhaust manifold and EGT pipe connected. I cleaned things up and made sure that things went back together properly, but that still didn’t fix things. I also checked as best that I could around the exhaust manifold and no where could I spot the tell-tale marks of a leak. It also didn’t seem logical that the noise was coming from the exhaust manifold, as it varied so much, coming on and off at different times. However, then I found that the turbo dump pipe had a large crack at the turbo flange. So a new dump pipe was installed (great service from DEA Performance), yet even that didn’t make any difference to the sound, nor was there any noise to give away that the dump pipe had cracked.

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Nissan GU Patrol Belt Tensioner

Following on from an earlier post about Made in China, I thought I’d add another part to this as I recently experienced another side of made in China. As I noted previously, there are many products made in China that are of excellent quality and performance, but there are also many that are anything but excellent quality and performance. I was reminded of this when the fan belt in my Patrol started to squeal, which was a clear indication that it needed to be replaced. The fan belt is of the serpentine belt design and kept in tension by a piston on a pivoting tensioner assembly. It’s a relatively simple design and generally foolproof, but the tensioner piston can eventually start seizing, especially if you do a lot of water crossing and/or mud holes. It is sealed, but it can still seize and that causes the squealing (by not tensioning the belt enough). It’s not the idler pulley (I/P) bearing as many believe that causes the noise.

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Dogma Revisited

In 2015, I wrote about the direction that we appear to be headed when it comes to finding places where you can legally take your dogs for walks, camping and other activities that you might pursue as a dog owner. As I pointed out, all and sundry dogooder, medical expert and know it all chastises anyone who doesn’t meet their weight or health ideals and tries to impose ever more on your chosen lifestyle. However, on the same hand they go out of their way to prevent enjoyable means of exercise. In my earlier story I pointed out how so many places are no longer accessible to dog owners and the trend seems to be to make access even more difficult, if not impossible. Councils everywhere are turning over age old rules that permitted access to areas as such as beaches and parks, where dog owners could play, teach and enjoy time with their pets.

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Sliders – Good, Bad, Excellent

A slider is a device that allows you to attach a video camera and then move the camera side to side or backwards and forwards smoothly and precisely for interesting video effects, and can create a sense of movement where there isn’t any. Sliders come in many different forms and sizes, from small units no longer than a standard ruler and weighing a kilogram or so, to behemoths metres long and weighing tens of kilograms (in many respects you could consider a dolly a slider). Like tripods and gimbals, sliders are typically designed to suit specific camera weight ranges with some only capable of carrying a few hundred or so grams, to ones that can carry 100kg or more. Sliders also come in various operating configurations, manually operated or motorised, with the more sophisticated (read expensive) ones able to be operated via a mobile phone app or through built-in controls to provide all manner of sliding options. There are also sliders that can double their effective length through clever mechanics.

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New Year’s Echidna

One of the things that we can never predict from one day to the next is what manner of local fauna will have visited overnight or might visit our yard during the day.  As it was with our Christmas Koalas, we always have to expect the unexpected and we’ve had an unusual influx of Galahs, Corellas as well, I suspect possibly due to the East Gippsland fires and the wafting smoke. And one regular visitor, or perhaps a group of visitors over the years, has been our local Echidna (link has an old, but fascinating, video about Echidnas). I’m not sure how many inhabit the surrounding bush, but I suspect that there are at least two that call this area their home. So early in the first week of January, as we were about to let our hound out for his nightly business, an Echidna was spotted fossicking about just below our veranda. I observed it for a short while and then decided to video its movements, as I didn’t have much video footage of this weird and interesting creature. It was also partly due to the smoke from the East Gippsland fires that made it easier to approach this Echidna from close range.

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