Lighten up.

Although I am not much different to recent previous days, I just wanted to lighten up things, as reading what I have written in the past week or so must be full on. It’s raw and true, and really how things are. But I just wanted show you some photo’s I have taken recently.

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This was a shot from a couple of nights ago, straight out the front of our place. I took about 10 shots, this the only one that lit up from the lightning going on deep inside the storm. These storms are mammoth, those “hills” at the bottom are actually 1km tall mountains. Gives you a bit of perspective as to how high into the sky those storms go.

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This is from yesterday, beautiful and sunny, this is the Palmerston Gorge, west of Innisfail.

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This was our little haul from yesterdays outing. Tomatoes and tomato plants, Cucumelon plants, sweet potato, capsicum, avocado, Pawpaw, Pineapple and Spanish Onions.

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And just one last one, from about 2 weeks ago, the male Cassowary and his chick at Etty Bay. Not the best of shots, we pulled over and I had to shoot across the car from the drivers side. The males raise the chicks, and these birds are pretty dangerous if they get upset with you. Absolutely stunning animals though.

Cheers for now.

Andy.

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Watching the storms.

Yesterday we had a pretty impressive storm outbreak, brought on by the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Penny. After lunch, Jack and I went off for a little drive, as the sky was looking menacing to the south and west of our place, and, of course, my favourite photographic subject is storms.

We headed a little east and north of home, trying to get a good vantage point of the storms across open ground looking back towards Walsh’s Pyramid, away from power lines and any other man made structure that wasn’t photogenic. It’s hard trying to get a good landscape shot without power lines, and I hate power lines. We sort of left our run too late, as we found a spot, and the storm was really advancing towards us very quickly. I did get a couple of shots, not lightning, the ultimate goal, but the storm was menacing.

This was taken not long after we got out of the car. The sun was still illuminating the foreground. That is Walsh’s Pyramid, the pyramid shaped mountain on the left. The foreground is a sugar cane field in fallow.

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Only a few moments later and the sun was rapidly vanishing, and so was Walsh’s Pyramid !!!

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This was the view to the west of our location, which was at a place called Packer’s Camp., a very turbulent sky indeed. The wind was astonishing as it came over. Under that rain on the left is where we live. There is a mountain about 900 metres above sea level in that rain.

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As the cloud front came upon us, this was the view of the sky to the north. Amazingly blue, with the menacing blackness over our heads.

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We quickly decided that staying out, trying to find a better location to get more shots was a daft idea, the wind was gusting very strongly, buffeting my little car very noticeably. And the rain, it was almost impossible to drive. The water was accumulating on the road so quickly (and these roads are made to cope with a big deluge and drain well), that it was like driving through a pond, the water was 3 or 4 inches deep just from what was falling from the sky.

After a slightly nerve wracking drive the 10 kilometres home, we pulled up in the carport, went out the back verandah, and found 2 inches of water across the rear verandah, it was raining so hard that the drain couldn’t get it away quickly enough. I ended up going out in the rain with the shovel, and dug a trench about 3 inches deep to get the water to flow away down the slope, it was raining so hard, just 10 seconds out in the rain meant you were drenched right through, and the rain was cold !! The trench worked rapidly, and it drained off, even while it was still pouring down. We ended up with 60mm of rain in the space of 30 minutes. in the old scale, that’s probably a bit over 2 inches. In 30 minutes.

Later in the evening, we had a round 2, with lightning flashing intermittently to the west and east. I went out by myself after Jack went to bed, but didn’t capture anything worth sharing. It was nice to see some lightning return after a couple of weeks of nothing.


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Today, it has rained a bit, we’ve had about an inch of rain again, but nothing as spectacular as yesterday. We woke this morning to a bit of a disaster from our elderly dog, we have to contain her during the night in a playpen, so she doesn’t do her business all over the house during the night, we have a tarpaulin under it so if she does anything, it goes on it, and not the floor, and we just take that out to wash it off and clean it. She is very old, nearly 17 years old, and a Jack Russell, she is an awesome dog, but just getting a little incontinent. Dogs, or any pet for that matter, are for life, and you just have to take that getting old will happen.

The disaster was her best yet though. It was contained, but all over the tarp, her bed and bedding, her, it was just full on, and it stank so bad. Even when it was all cleaned up, the smell lingered, and we sprayed every version of room deodoriser we have around. Some just made it worse, as their scent, mixed with, well, the smell of shit, was more revolting than the smell of the shit on it’s own. I know, it’s hard to imagine air freshener making it worse, but trust me, it did. I ended up going over the entire floor, even though it wasn’t on the floor, with a very strong bleach and water solution with the mop, and after that, the smell was gone. I think the bleach dissipating into the air actually killed the smell that was lingering. Tonight, you wouldn’t even know there was such a mess this morning.

My fatigue really is a problem right now. It just doesn’t seem to want to subside. The pain is going from uncomfortable to bad on a roller coaster over the days, today wasn’t so bad on the pain front, but then I have had all sorts of gut issues, and nausea. This fibromyalgia is just sooooo fun !!!

It wears you down.

Andy.

Outing to Yarrabah

Today, we went off on a pure “just drive and see where we end up” outing. Just Jack and myself. My Mum is unwell, so I figured that if we went out for a little bit, she could have some peace and quiet to rest.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed off to Yarrabah, an Indigenous Community to the East of Cairns, on the other side of Trinity Inlet. It is a bit of a drive, I thought it was closer, but was so well worth it. The drive had us meandering through the sugarcane fields, and after the downpour we had yesterday from Tropical Cyclone Owen, a lot of the streams were flowing. This was the first time we went to Yarrabah, so didn’t know what to expect, and it was also Jack’s first time going to an Indigenous Community. There are certain things you need to observe when entering Indigenous communities, and you must have the utmost respect for the place and it’s people.

The drive took us up over the mountains, which was quite a climb up and over the range, but the whole thing was worth it. Below, is a photo overlooking the bay that fringes Yarrabah, who wouldn’t want to live in this slice of paradise ??

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We wandered on down from this amazing vantage point into the community below, and as we pulled up at the beachside, a lovely old Aboriginal lady in a wheelchair was having her morning wander around, and we had a little chat. She was an amazingly friendly and warm woman.

We then wandered onto the beach, where we discovered that 2 shipwrecks also inhabited the waters just off the beach. It was a popular photographic subject with both myself and Jack.

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Jack was trying to get the best angle.

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The western headland of the bay also was quite interesting and picturesque.

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We then decided to head back home, but took a detour before getting home to have lunch, which included a feast of Lychees we got at a roadside stall on our travels. Below, is the Western flank of Walsh’s Pyramid, with water streaming down some ephemeral waterfalls due to the heavy rain yesterday.

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We also happened across this colony of Fruit Bats, or Flying Foxes, which just so happens to be not far from our new home. I have been itching for a bit of an explore, but due to all the work we have needed to do, this has been the first proper opportunity.

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All the usual crap with fibromyalgia is happening still, and we still have tonnes more work to do, but it was nice to just kick back for a few hours, and start to explore our new home.

Andy.

Things are looking a lot better

It’s amazing what a difference a few days can make. It’s been such a roller coaster this past few months, and I am sure it isn’t over yet, but we have been having a few wins this past few days. The future is looking brighter.

As I have talked about before, I am a photographer, I keep meaning to share more of my work on here, but motivation to do things other than what has been necessary to keep life ticking along has been pretty low of recent months. It’s strange, I have sat here tonight looking at some photos I downloaded off my camera to my desk top computer months ago, I hadn’t looked at them since I downloaded them, so I guess I am making some progress back to normality again.

Since I moved in to my folks place in January, most of my life has been packed into boxes, and even though I have set myself up to work, I just haven’t felt right enough to do it. I did my first wedding photography gig back in February, did that work, got the finished products to the bride and groom, but have not done any other photography work apart from taking a few shots, then leaving them sit on my camera’s or computer ever since, not even looking at them. It’s annoying, because I know when I finally do start delving into them it will be hundreds of hours of work to sort through, but hey, you need to be in the right frame of mind and comfortable to do it, and I just haven’t been settled enough to do that. Put it this way, a full wedding gig was over 12 hours just doing the photography, then about another 15 to 20, going through the 1200 shots I took. By the way, of those 1200 shots, which were of the arrivals, ceremony and reception, 1120 were all good enough to present to the bride and groom, and they were astounded I had captured so much.

One of the things I want to concentrate more on is time-lapse, I have a set up now to do so, and have put together a few and then edited them into small videos, with music, credits and captions, titles, the works. It’s far more time consuming than just doing the straight photography, but when you nail it, it is so satisfying. I have 2 favourites, one I did of my son from birth until 8 years old, then another of the landscapes around SW Victoria, obviously with a lot of moody weather involved, because landscape and weather are my most favourite subjects. Once we get moved, and settled in to our new place, which is now looking very likely, possibly even in the next 4 weeks although I don’t want to jinx it, I need to get head down and bum up and start sorting all this backlog out, and get into making some serious cash out of it. That is the ultimate goal.

Well, I should get my head into bed, I slept for 4 hours this afternoon, the fibromyalgia fatigue has been bad, so instead of resisting the urge to just sleep I went with it today, but, yes, I am still exhausted, so need to go off and sleep again.

Goodnight.

 

Here we go…….

Hello !!

We are all on our own paths through life, but what makes life interesting is when our paths cross – Me !!!

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Ibis at Tyrendarra, South West Victoria, Australia

I just thought I’d kick this new adventure off with a bit of a tranquil sight of these beautiful Ibis flying over the wetlands of the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area I snapped a few months ago. Although they aren’t the most attractive birds, there is something so graceful about their flight.

I love to get outdoors to witness nature in all it’s glory. Whether it be an early morning sunrise, with the pink and orange hues breaking through the black of night and banishing the dark from the sky, or a wild thunderstorm sending bolts streaming across the sky, there is something so humbling being able to witness it all unfold. No two sunrises or thunderstorms are the same.

I guess that’s what helps get me through the day. The chance to witness something amazing. Most days are a real struggle. It’s very difficult living with a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia. For those who don’t know, it manifests itself in many ways, there are a multitude of symptoms, but the most debilitating, from my point of view, are the constant pain, and the ever present fatigue. Between nature, and my son Jack, I manage to get up every day, even when I feel like it is an impossibility.

There are a bunch of other unpleasantries associated with Fibromyalgia as well,  like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), joint stiffness, super sensitivity to temperature, super sensitivity to light, super sensitivity to anything that touches your skin, I mean, it is really not nice at all.

Recently, I have had a few visits with specialists to adjust treatments, it’s a chronic illness that is poorly understood, they don’t even really know what causes it or what exactly is going on, and you can’t continually take ever increasingly stronger Opioids for ever, so I have recently started on some new medications in the hope of getting some relief from the symptoms.

In the past 12 months or so it has become a lot worse, and that is the thing, that’s what it does, it gets worse and worse over time. It takes a lot of willpower and intestinal fortitude to keep going.

Apart from the medicinal efforts, I do a lot of what is called distraction therapy, I was doing it well before I even heard it was a thing. That’s why art, photography, writing, all that stuff is such an integral part of my life. It is something I can immerse my mind in to ignore the pain. It works well, about 50% of the time. I’ll take that 50% if it means that whilst it is working I am not shoving pills down my throat to stop the pain.

I have been on my new medications for about 2 weeks now, I am in a transition phase, which means I am getting used to these, before I start coming off the other things I have been taking. In 2 weeks time, it will be D-Day, when I start to reduce my reliance on the Opioid based painkillers. The new drugs have made a difference, it tangible, but a bit hard to explain. It is a lessening of the pain, which in my opinion is the worst symptom, but in a weird way. There is not a moment in at least the last 5 years where I haven’t been in pain. The painkillers lessen the severity from intolerable to slightly less intolerable, but it doesn’t ever go away. Oh, pardon me, there was once, about 3 years ago now, when I had a fall and was on Endone for a couple of days, I didn’t feel anything, let alone pain, on them !!!

Anyhow, I think I better get myself off to bed, tomorrow Jack has school, so I will have to drag myself into the day at 7am, and seeing it is now nearly 11pm, I won’t have a great deal of time to enjoy another restless sleep, hopefully getting enough rest to manage another day.

Andy.