Travel Theme : Independence


FREEDOM comes in the form of a camper van…

I couldn’t think of a better way to define independence and freedom than sharing this post with you again in response to Ailsa’s theme of independence…

Originally posted on gypsy life:


Matilda has been our transport, accommodation and trusty companion  for 4 years as we travelled 70.000 kilometres around Australia. Slowly trundling up and over mountain ranges, across the outback and along the coast, coming to rest each night in iconic Aussie places. The beach with the sound of waves peeling  on the shore to lull us to sleep. Alongside mighty rivers or dry river beds. In the outback the Mitchell grass plains stretching to the horizon and at night the sky a blanket of twinkling stars. The bush and rainforest each with their distinctive smell and sounds as the birds serenade us and unseen creatures scuttle in the undergrowth.

Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach

Camping in the outback Camping in the outback

Near the beach in the rainforest Near the beach in the rainforest

In a field of dreams In a field of dreams

Crossing borders Crossing borders

Every place different and a joy to experience.

There are memories of campgrounds. Sharing a glass…

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Categories: memories | 13 Comments

Thursday Special : Bird’s Eyes

Eyes are the windows of the soul.


Eagle eyes amazing information…

Eagles have unusual eyes. They are very large in proportion to their heads and have extremely large pupils. Eagles’ eyes have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, five times more that a human’s 200,000. While humans see just three basic colours, eagles see five. These adaptations gives eagles extremely keen eyesight and enable them to spot even well-camouflaged potential prey from a very long distance. In fact the eagles’ vision is among the sharpest of any animal and studies suggest that some eagles can spot an animal the size of a rabbit up to two miles away! (for more information about eagles go here)


Amazing facts about owl’s eyes…

Of all an Owl’s features, perhaps the most striking is its eyes. Large and forward facing, they may account for one to five percent of the Owl’s body weight, depending on species. The forward facing aspect of the eyes that give an Owl its “wise” appearance, also give it a wide range of “binocular” vision (seeing an object with both eyes at the same time). This means the owl can see objects in 3 dimensions (height, width, and depth), and can judge distances in a similar way to humans. The field of view for an owl is about 110 degrees, with about 70 degrees being binocular vision.

An Owl’s eyes are large in order to improve their efficiency, especially under low light conditions. In fact, the eyes are so well developed, that they are not eye balls as such, but elongated tubes. They are held in place by bony structures in the skull called Sclerotic rings. For this reason, an Owl cannot “roll” or move its eyes – that is, it can only look straight ahead!
The Owl more than makes up for this by being able to turn its head up to 270 degrees left or right from the forward facing position, and almost upside down.

Since Owls have extraordinary night vision, it is often thought that they are blind in strong light. This is not true, because their pupils have a wide range of adjustment, allowing the right amount of light to strike the retina. Some species of Owls can actually see better than humans in bright light.

To protect their eyes, Owls are equipped with 3 eyelids. They have a normal upper and lower eyelid, the upper closing when the owl blinks, and the lower closing up when the Owl is asleep. The third eyelid is called a nictitating membrane, and is a thin layer of tissue that closes diagonally across the eye, from the inside to the outside. This cleans and protects the surface of the eye. ( for more information go here)


The bright yellow eye of a Pelican who’s beak can hold more than his belly can…


Another interesting challenge from Paula at “Lost in Translation”

Categories: birds, Birds eyes, photography, Thursdays special | Tags: , , | 18 Comments

Bench Series June : Art Effects



For June Jude has challenged us to show benches that we have adjusted to give them an artistic effect. So above is the original that I chose to “play” with.

  • First I cropped out the tree and flower trellis on the left.
  • Using Photo Shop Elements I applied “Paint Daubs” from the filters.
  • On top of that I used “accent edges”
  • Finally I adjusted the hue and saturation.

This is the final result…

red bus tour 070 enhanced bench

Thanks Jude for this June Bench Series, it has been fun and stretched my imagination. Now to look for some benches with unusual detail for July’s challenge.

Categories: bench series, photography, photoshop | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

Travel Theme : Tiny

grevillea in rain_4000x3000

Like tiny diamonds the raindrops sparkle and twinkle on the stamens of the Grevillea. The closer you look the more they sparkle.

grevillea raindrops cropped_1987x1550

From 2000 to 2010 Queensland was in the grip of a severe drought. Every drop of water was precious. Then the floods of 2010 and 2011 devastated the land, but renewed growth followed in the aftermath. Now for the past 4 years nature has been kind, the rain has been gentle and nourishing, the sun has been warm and renewing and I cherish every day, but wonder when will this cycle of plenty change…

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth;

without rain, there would be no life.

John Updike

Categories: Australia, photography, Queensland, tiny, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Exploring the convict past


Unlike the Aboriginal history which is known to go back 40,000 or more years, Australians do not have a very long European history. Some of the earliest traces of the past European history is to be found in the penal settlement at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

In June 2013 I spent a day exploring this strangely beautiful but haunting place and this is the post I wrote back then…

I am linking this to Paula’s Thursday special challenge which this week is “Traces of the past”

Originally posted on gypsy life:

Port Arthur penal colony

This is the Penitentiary at Port Arthur Penal Colony, a major tourist destination in Tasmania.

The convict past of Australia started here in 1830 as a timber-getting camp using convict labour to produce sawn logs for government projects. In 1833 it became a punishment station for hardened and repeat offenders from around other States. The conditions for convicts were harsh.

I’d heard the stories of Port Arthur. The cramped conditions, the horrific punishments given for any misdemeanour, on a treadmill for 8 hours, 100 lashes of the cat o’ nine tails, solitary confinement in total darkness. I was expecting a grim, dingy collection of dusty overwhelming relics and dilapidated ruins. A harsh and unforgiving atmosphere. A feeling of despair.

In reality the place was strangely beautiful. Maybe the sun created a happiness I hadn’t expected. The extensive lawns sweeping between the buildings a vibrant green backdrop for the impressively large buildings, the warm…

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Categories: memories | 5 Comments

Travel Theme : Old Fashioned

Just a couple of old fashioned girlsphotoshop

Just a couple of old-fashioned girls…

The vintage car show at the Tauranga Jazz Festival was a happy hunting ground for all things vintage and old-fashioned.

jazz tauranga jc 106_4000x3000

Categories: jazz festival, New Zealand, old-fashioned, photography, Tauranga, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bench Series June : Art Effects…


This one only just qualifies for the bench series. Do you see the bench tucked in the background?

I have only done a minor touch up with this one. I used Photoshop Elements edge finding filter then adjusted the lighting.


After touch-up…


This is the original un-touched image.



This sculpture is the work of the famous Australian artist Norman Lindsay (22 February 1879 – 21 November 1969). He was both proficient and prolific in pen and ink drawing, etching, woodcuts, watercolours and sculpture. Lindsay rejected Christianity, and his art depicts Bohemianism and Arcadian pantheism madly admixed in a fantasy world. As early as 1904 his work was deemed blasphemous. His studio and garden is a fascinating place to visit.


Jude hosts a “bench series“. Take a look at benches found by observant bloggers from around the world.

Categories: bench series, New South Wales, Norman Lindsay art gallery, photography | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge 2 : Rainbow Flowers

Such a great theme this week I can’t resist showcasing some of the hundreds of flower photos I have collected.

Sturts desert pea

Sturts desert pea

Alens Flower drive pc 021cropped

Yellow rose

Yellow rose

sea jade



Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Alens Flower drive pc 015

 Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. It’s the photo challenge theme for this week!


Categories: flowers, photography, postaday, rainbow, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

At the end of the rainbow : Weekly Photo Challenge

 “Roy G. Biv” is an acronym made of the first letters of the seven colors of the rainbow, to help you remember: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. It’s also your photo challenge theme for this week!

Cygnet  pc sx40 094 church and rainbow

A magical day discovering the tiny township of Huonville. Set low in the beautiful Huon Valley, Huonville is wrapped in scenery and close to some of Tasmania’s most amazing natural places. To add to the magic this rainbow followed us around all day and appeared in nearly all the photos we took.

Cygnet to Huonville pc sx40 079_4000x3000

Cygnet to Huonville pc sx40 122_4000x3000

Cygnet to Huonville pc sx40 100_4000x3000

Categories: photography, postaday, rainbow, Tasmania, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Bench Series : June, Art Effects…

I’m new to the Ipad and the apps you can get on them so this week I tried a couple of them out. First I had to work out how to get my photos from the computer to the Ipad then back again. After a bit of head scratching I finally put the photo in an e-mail that I sent to myself, then opened it in my e-mail on the Ipad and saved it to the photo gallery, worked on it then sent it back via the e-mail.

Water colour effect.

Water colour effect.

I used an app called “Waterloque” for this effect. Very easy, just select then watch it magically change before your eyes…

Dark and moody.

Dark and moody.

Next I used “snap seed”, put a vignette round, then experimented with all the settings and have to admit I can’t remember what this final effect I used was…

This is the original

This is the original

Jude hosts a “bench series“. Take a look at benches found by observant bloggers from around the world.

Categories: bench series, photography | Tags: , | 26 Comments

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