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.
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!
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
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
Eagle Rock, beside the Split Point Lighthouse is one of my favourite points on the Great Ocean Road and has been my desktop picture for the last year! Just sitting out there…all on it’s own.
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?
Somewhere in outback NSW… Signs appear as we shoot the Daft Punk Random Access Memories album launch.
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.
Surrounded 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!
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.
During the month of May I will revisit the photographs from my trip to India. I took over 3,000 photographs on my month-long trip in December 2012, and finally I am getting around to posting some of them!
First stop is Munar, the beautiful and shapely hills of tea plantations in the south of India. I rented a motorbike with my girlfriend (she took a little convincing) and alongside some newly made friends from Germany, braved both the heat and cold of the mountains.
Once outside the busy streets of the town of Munar itself, traffic was more relaxed, and the view spectacular! Tea bushes are pruned to English garden perfection, their cell-like structures coiling through gullies and up the slopes of the hills. I was surprised to find eucalyptus forests breaking up the vibrant green of the tea plantations – a sight, and a smell, transporting me to the Australian south coast.
It was so warm in the valley that morning that I had departed with only a t-shirt, but now high in the mountains I froze as I rode through the clouds themselves. The wind picked up at this altitude and I could see the white wisps washing through the trees. At the summit we pulled over to seek refuge with an Indian family who had stopped to build a fire beside the road. They didn’t speak English at all, so we could only offer plenty of smiles as we wedged our way into their group.
Down the mountain and into the next valley, my blood began to run again and we turned off the main road to explore a little village. I guess the townsfolk don’t get visitors that often with the way they stopped their work to stare at us. Again, no one spoke English, so it was with big gestures and smiles that we interacted with some kids who were hanging out their laundry on the best clothesline possible: floating across the top of the tea bushes themselves. A kindly looking old lady stopped to give me some fruit and pause for a photograph, as did another man carrying a giant blue loudspeaker.
My most striking memory of that day was watching workers build the road by hand high up in the mountains. Torrents of thick black smoke gushed from the furnace heating the tar, to which women dumped baskets of gravel scooped up and carried on their heads. All wearing flip-flops.
Distances in India often end up being much further than they appear on a map, given the dense traffic, livestock and just general hazards in whatever form you can think of. We finally found a waterfall that we should have, according to our “not to scale” map, encountered half a day earlier, and, since the light was fading, declared that we had successfully reached our destination. The truth was, we never had a destination in mind. With perfect, endless rolling green hills like those in Munar, you’re just there for the drive.
I’m holidaying in Camberwarra at the moment – just outside of Nowra, south of Sydney. It’s a beautiful area with gum trees, wineries, brilliant green farm lands, and of course, the pristine white sands of Jervis Bay not far away.
It also happens to be the location where I filmed Denis Carnahan’s music video “Different World“.
The last day of 2012. I’m on a boat on Sydney Harbour to celebrate. I hope you had a fantastic year…may 2013 be a year of great things!
It’s official, we survived! In celebration of making it through Rajasthan, here’s another audio update from the roads of India. On this episode, Megan and I discuss “romance” in Udaipur, killer cow attacks, and cooking classes.
Back again, David and Megan chat about India’s Pushkar Camel Fair: an annual fete in Rajasthan that brings together local camel traders and other traditions. For more about the experience, check out Megan’s article with photos on the Huffington Post here: