Monday, 11 March 2013

A Whale in Mid City

In March a gigantic hump whale beached in Sydney's CBD in Martin Place, and shines blackly in glorious afternoon sun. The event was a protest against mining developments planned for the Kimberley coast. See (for example) The Wilderness Society website.

This whale must have been a huge effort to man-handle into position.

Some ingenious mechanics are on display. 
Both eyes were illuminated from inside.
Note the water supply: every now and again a spout shot up into the air!
Supporter Claire showing off her 'whale tail' on top of a Sea Shepherd cap.
While a succession of excellent musicians jammed on through the afternoon, giving their energies to the cause. 
This photo is a little soft in focus, so I've given it a 'dry brush' filter in Photoshop. Once in filters, who can resist 'glowing edges'? I like it, but this contradicts my usual documentary photo dictum to keep it simple, and becomes a graphic. The key thing is the truly huge size of the whale.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Elephants in Sydney

Prepare to be amazed at the little-known Macleay Museum hidden in a corner of Sydney University, which has many fascinating scientific specimens including this once-was-an-elephant. Magnificence is no protection against rampant slaughter, especially of big-tusked African elephants, which is continuing faster than ever due to blood-soaked Chinese demand. Find out more.
Taronga Zoo has many Asian elephants, with a full conservation breeding programme. See details. The nearest one in this photo balances on three legs while standing on a rock during an afternoon display.
This slippery-dip near Central Railway in Prince Albert Park is innovative, and the design appealed simultaneously to a three year old and a nine year old.  

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Rubber Ducky at Darling Harbour

Who can resist a cute baby giant, the stilled heart of a childhood longing? Sydney Festival brought this rubber ducky by Florentijn Hofman (from the Netherlands) to Darling Harbour in January.

My grand-daughters Lily and Mali give scale to the Pop-able grandeur.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Girls with Terrible Lizard & Big Red

This was my grand-daughter Mali's own idea for a photo, when we visited the Sydney Museum, and she acts the helpless heroine perfectly as a terrible tyrant lizard prepares to crunch.

Movie references suddenly abound ... including the original King Kong movie (1933), though how could a monster reptile express feelings?

The photo was made in black & white (using a phone app with a square format). I don't find it sentimental at all, but oddly disturbing as she becomes - even pretend - prey.
Meanwhile, her sister Lily shows the true size of a big red. This kangaroo looks almost in fighting position - as an Australian icon, the boxing kangaroo is a pop cult cliche used as a sporting symbol. 

Red shoes, another movie. "Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself "there's no place like home". The Wizard of Oz

Butterflies on a porch

These butterflies aren't fluttering by - but held in imaginary flight, both magical and compelling. If they were real and landed on a wall (unlikely) their wings would be raised and touching each other - while moths sit with wings folded flat.

This porch is in a row of small-fronted houses on Elizabeth Street in Redfern. The barred windows and doors (common in the area) show past problems, while the cheerfulness of the arrangement shows hope.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Lackadaisical Stuffed Giraffe

Roger is the star at a shop in Redfern, Seasonal Concepts, which has some exceptional taxidermy amongst the semi-antiques. Ken and TR report that he died a natural death at Taronga Zoo before being recycled as a lackadaisical stuffed giraffe.

Many finely preserved animal heads are on display, trophies of an Australian hunter-collector in the 1950s-60s.

Ken says you need a seriously large room to display even one. Some of the heads (stag, addax, gazelle, etc) have an overwhelming presence. We cannot get as close as this to living animals even in a zoo. Looking at the immaculate reincarnations we tease ourselves with fright and stand our ground. The wild stares back at us through unfamiliar masks. We have evolved from hunter gatherers to hunter collectors.

A mean-looking coyote growls lasciviously.*

(* synonymous with lustful or lewd or unruly. Good word, lascivious, but maybe he's just hungry)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Cockatoo as Cock-stopper

Cockatoos need good handling. George's companion Bess's hand is wrapped in cloth for a spontaneous wing display. Bess says that George is a real "cock stopper", and gets vocal when an interested man gets too close. Last time, he threw a steak knife while squarking "Get F---ed". 
George is a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, living at the Friend in Hand hotel in Glebe, Sydney.
The hotel has a weekly event racing hermit crabs, and is well know for poetry readings, as well as for George.