The Great War Is Won With Small Actions

In the Great War between Ocean and Earth, millions of waves are sacrificed, seemingly in vain, against the steadfast face of rock.

However, with the relentless passage of Time, waves return and reform, rock surrenders to sand, and Ocean and Earth develop a more harmonious meeting point in a place called Beach.

Whatever seems impossible for you to achieve today, just begin with one simple action, and know that with consistency over a period of time, your impossible will become possible.

Photograph taken at the Twelve Apostles on The Great Ocean Road, VIC

Sydney Harbour: a world-class place to live

When you’ve travelled the world you come to realise how lucky you are to have a home like Australia.

Camp Cove, Sydney HarbourThis is Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour (right). Sydney is well known for its spectacular surf beaches, but in the last few months I’ve spent a lot more time on the harbour and found a new appreciation for its interior beaches. They’re just different. Rugged jetties, flashy boats, clear water, many meandering coves, and incredible houses lining the water. It’s a world-class place to live! The top picture was taken last night from Camp Cove, with perfect weather, the sound of kids playing, and the sun setting over the city.

My new favourite spot in Sydney is the Woollahra Library (below). It’s a wonderful old building overlooking the Fairfax estate and the harbour. From there you can walk through the library gardens to the Red Leaf Cafe and Murray Rose pool and a harbour beach!

Happy 2014!

Sydney Harbour Wollarah Library

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains

The bush walk at Wentworth Falls is my favourite in the Blue Mountains for its diversity of terrain: cliff-top views, valley creeks, vertical ladders, stairs carved into the sheer rock face, waterfalls from above and below. It’s even possible to just take the train from Sydney to the Wentworth Falls station and walk from there.

Unicorns on the Gundaroo Common

I’m pretty sure these are unicorns…yep, they are: unicorns on the Gundaroo Common. Gundaroo (aka “Fundaroo”) is probably my favourite place in the world. It’s just outside Canberra and the place where my Grandfather use to own property called Wonders Farm. As a kid I’d explore the willowed creek, rusted machinery and the broken down wool shed. My Grandparents are buried just to the right of this photo…in a field of unicorns. When I die, bury me here.

Spit Bridge To Manly Bushwalk

Good to know Sydney is well protected…

If you’re looking for a fantastic bush walk without leaving the city, try the Spit Bridge-To-Manly hike. You might just come across this Australian Water Dragon, but don’t get too close as s/he is territorial and will lunge at you… as happened to my camera lens. Best part is at the end of the hike you can have a beer in Manly overlooking the water at sunset!

Rainbow Hippyvan

Let’s get out of here, you and I.
Grab a hippyvan and surf the coast.
Doesn’t matter how far we run;
just carry on towards that rainbow connecting heaven to earth…
the promise of a more vibrant tomorrow.

Photo taken on the Hume Hwy, NSW

Lake George, NSW

Strange how history repeats itself. I just realised that exactly one year ago, at this exact time, I was standing in this spot at Lake George, NSW. I’d just flown back from the US for Christmas, and was driving from Sydney to Canberra when I stopped by the darkness of the lake to show Megan the southern hemisphere stars away from the city’s light pollution. Tonight had the same fresh smell of dry grass on the flat, waterless lakebed and the soft buzz of thousands of crickets, except this time with bright moonlight that would make Middle-earth proud. Happy one-year Aussie Anniversary!

This photo was taken on a 30-sec exposure at Lake George, NSW

Ava DuVernay: What do you want?

I love this advice from filmmaker Ava DuVernay at the 2013 Film Independent Forum. The last question put to her was: “Should we keep making 50K films, even if they don’t launch us to Sundance?” To which Ava replies, “the question is, what do you want?”

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why do you make films? What does success in filmmaking look like to you?

Telescope Timelapse for Daft Punk’s Album Launch

I’ve been babysitting the giant dishes at Australia Telescope today, in preparation for Daft Punk’s album launch. How are the two related you ask? Good question. Sony is keeping quiet on that one.

I sat in the dry grass with my calculator computing how many rotations we could get the telescope to make over 300 x 4-second intervals. Three and a bit, it turns out. The dish takes about 9 minutes to make a full rotation, and it takes me about 20 minutes to create a 12 second shot.

Australia_TelescopeSurrounded by kangaroos and hares, I thought how lucky we are in Australia to have such a beautiful landscape and fresh air (and how lucky I was to have access to a piece of machinery the weight of 1.5 jumbo jets). Six telescopes line the 3km railway track with a fibre optic cable sending enormous amounts of data back to the server in a room insulated to prevent radio interference. Even mobile phones have to be switched off at the entrance to the property.

I’m also filming night time-lapse, but at 40 second intervals, will generate only 3.5 seconds of film every hour. Slow going. However, the star trails look astonishing with the milky way rotating past the dish’s upturned nose! I’m working at the end of the track, and it feels very remote. There’s no moon, no ambient light, just a countless array of stars above this enormous machine. Its motors grind away in the otherwise silent landscape. It slowly turns its face towards me and I can’t help feeling like it has a personality of its own.

The staff at the CSIRO have been great sports with all the filming and interviews.

During Daft Punk’s show, I went up in a light aircraft to shoot aerial shots of the dance floor. This was the best angle to see its design: a spinning record. However, looking through a lens with a moving horizon while doing constant 2g turns did make me chuck twice!

Alleppey Houseboats

After the absolute insanity that is Delhi, Kerala held some of my more relaxing experiences in India, albeit still full of surprises.

After haggling at the dock in Alleppey, we rented a private houseboat overnight on the backwaters with a crew of three. The two-story residence featured a dining area on the upper deck and striped cushions we aptly named the “tiger bed”. Lying there in the sun, isolated from the grind of the motor at the back of the boat, we floated tranquilly through the trees and out on to the lake (just check your head when you stand up, or you’ll get pole-axed by live electrical wires running the breadth of the river).

It was dubbed a “luxury” boat, but easter eggs included: the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in the bathroom, no toilet seat or paper, and a twin bed with a very generous tilt towards the edge of the boat. And the motor broke down.

Our cook went renegade too, demanding money, changing his mind that we couldn’t fish, said we weren’t allowed to watch TV after 8:30pm, and pushed again and again to drink our beer. When we docked and he demanded a tip, I shot my mouth off at him and the tour owner.

It did make the experience stressful, but that aside, as was often the contradiction in India, it was a very replenishing experience, largely because of the privacy of having our own boat, and not having to move bags around throughout the day. The food was spectacular (I just assumed the cook added his special sauce at some stage).

It was wonderful to wake up in the morning and watch people’s lives unfold around the river. Everything happens along its banks – washing clothes, brushing teeth, merchants selling food from boats, even hunting fish with a crossbow!

After our stay in Alleppey, we moved on to Verkala – a touristy beach town on India’s south-western coastline (we didn’t have time to make it north to Goa). The restaurants along its cliff walk were brimming with fresh fish each night at great prices.

I remember Verkala as the most relaxing place I traveled in India, so much so I don’t have any pictures to show you! So, instead take a look at life on the backwaters of Alleppey.