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.
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.
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.
The latest catch cry being shouted everywhere (sick of hearing it) is that ‘We must declare a climate emergency!‘. Local councils especially are jumping onto this bandwagon and declaring that there is now a climate emergency. What exactly is the emergency and what rescue, recovery and mitigation activities are these councils undertaking? When an emergency is declared, it usually involves a real and present danger or attending to the after effects of some natural disaster that has affected a vast area and/or number of people. All I see about me, after these declarations have been made, are people going about their normal business. No one appears to be aware that an emergency is afoot and that they are now subject to emergency action as detailed by whatever procedures normally take affect in such circumstances. We may have fire emergencies, flood emergencies, cyclone emergencies etc, but what is a climate emergency? Continue reading
Just as we thought we’d seen the last of the rarer wildlife for this year, we had a visit from a koala and young that I think are the same ones that came by just over a year ago. The joey had grown sizeably larger, naturally, and was now just a little smaller than mum. However, it was now much more adventurous, as it was climbing all about looking for the best gum leaves, though regularly coming back to mum for a bit of what appeared reassurance. Mind you, at times, harassing mum seemed to be more of a hurry up to get her to move to another location. Once again, they were moving about during the hottest part of the day and I’d always thought they’d be resting somewhere and moving about only in the early morning or late afternoon. At first the two were in a fairly open area amongst the trees, so I had a reasonable opportunity for photographs and video, but then they moved into the denser canopy making it difficult to see them.
As I noted at the end of my story about our Labrador Jenna, a blackbird started to build a nest inside our veranda. It’s nest building was not going well, as the spot chosen was the lintel on the top of a doorway and there was nothing to hold the bits and pieces that it was gathering to make its nest, Everything was just falling on the floor and we were daily gathering up handfuls of twigs, bark and whatnot. Despite these issues, the Blackbird didn’t look like it was about to give up, having found what it thought was the perfect spot for a nest. Feeling somewhat down at the time with the loss of Jenna, I decided to give the Blackbird a hand and placed a piece of wood across the lintel to assist in holding the nesting materials in place. The blackbird was clearly very satisfied with this development and in no time had finished off the nest.
In my quest to learn more about video production, for the last year or so, I’ve been avidly scouring YouTube and the internet in general for sites that provide information, examples, reviews and personal rundowns on video production. Early on I was looking for information on gear needed for video production, cameras, audio, lighting and accessories. I wasn’t looking just for gear reviews, but for candid opinions on gear that actual videographers/film makers were using or had used and how they found them in real use. In doing so I found some very good YouTube channels and started to follow them with interest. Once I pretty much had my gear sorted out, I started to look for more sites that dealt with producing videos, as well as editing videos, and once again came across a number that I still follow. As I’ve noted before, YouTube can be a double-edged sward with good and bad results and sometimes more choice than you can handle.
There’s always something interesting or unusual happening in the yard throughout the year. If it’s not the birds or animals up to something, then it’s the trees and plants. This Spring, something perhaps not overly unusual but most certainly on a huge scale has happened to all the Messmate gums in our yard, our neighbours and, as far as I can tell, elsewhere in the neighbourhood. For some reason, leaf galls have appeared in massive quantities and caused leaves to drop in vast numbers. Our yard is full of such leaves and when I took our hound for a walk one morning, I noticed similarly large numbers on the road, with most squashed by car tyres or feet. These leaf galls were everywhere. I’ve seen these most years, but never in such quantities and our neighbour is also perplexed as he hasn’t seen such a mass event in all of his years living in the area.
Having just lost Jenna, I wasn’t in the best of moods in the following weeks and was hoping that the bad news year was over. But that wasn’t to be the case as just as we were adjusting to the loss of Jenna, a huge tree fell down at the back of our property crushing the roof of our neighbour’s garage, certainly making it a write-off. Fortunately no one was hurt and the only damage was to the shed as it was empty at the time. After more than a week of constant rain the ground around the base of the tree must have given way and the tree came down. It had been a fairly still night, so it didn’t fall because of the wind. It happened around 8:00pm when I heard the almighty crash, went out to see where it had happened, but couldn’t find any evidence anywhere. I’d surmised that it was next door to us, but seeing nothing, thought it must have been further away. My wife thought is was just thunder as the weather was turning ominous.
Sadness and grief affects everyone in different ways and there are many different things that generate sadness and grief. The most notable is that caused by family events and, for many, family can mean different things. For us, sadness and grief came about by the passing of our dear Labrador Jenna, who was just passed her 11th year. Jenna had been increasingly burdened by various lumps and bumps that kept growing and after undergoing several operations not long ago to assess and remove some of those lumps and bumps, for a short while she was rejuvenated and almost a new dog. However, she rapidly began to deteriorate some months afterwards, becoming less active, eating less and generally not wanting to do much at all. Then she became incontinent and she started showing signs of depression. It was only when we took her for her annual checkup, and to find out if there was something other than hormone tablets to alleviate her incontinence, that it was discovered that she had cancer. The photos that follow are a collection of Jenna (and her brother Tas) throughout her life in no particular order, to remember a wonderful dog.