ballarat_botanical_gardens

Let the Sunshine In

Our big day today started, as they often do, with the idea we were going to do something small. Just like last week we jumped in the car and head out looking for a good photo opportunity. But all we could see was fog, it was thick. And you know what you shouldn’t do, fly Elroy in the misty fog, he’s apt to end up quite moist. You should also remember to actually start your GoPro so it captures the footage to make the flying through the mist worthwhile.

So the hope of getting a nice foggy photo was ruined by the fact there was too much of it.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Morning Fog
Elroy in the fog

Given how foggy it was here in Bacchus Marsh, I thought we should head up to Ballarat, in the hope that the lake there might have a little of the fog, or at least a light mist, it would give it quite the ethereal look. As we were leaving the Marsh and heading up the highway it kind of became apparent that our little valley town was alone in it’s fog-filled haze. The sun was beaming and bright.

When we got to Ballarat, which was indeed fog-free, we stopped in at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens to see what was happening. Last time we were there they had a begonia festival on, this time it seemed to be daisy and poppy heaven. Of course I could be wrong, these may well be other flowers, feel free to correct me in the comments.

Robert Clark Conservatory
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Ballarat Botanical Gardens

After this I wanted to go and check out the wind turbines generating clean energy on the outskirts of Ballarat, well they are a little further away than that. We ended up near Lake Burrumbeet and found our way to the massive wind farm at Waubra. There are a whole mass of turbines spinning away in the wind, creating power from the wind.

To say I love these things is an understatement. They are beautiful to look at and when you’re close the steady “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” is, to me, a calming sound. Others apparently find it noise pollution. There have been many complaints about this wind farm affecting the health of people in nearby regions but I call BS on that. Seems the “Waubra Foundation” who’s was fighting this farm is representing no one who lives anywhere near the town or the wind farm. Seems a cash grab and a tax haven.

Wind Turbine
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

I launched Elroy and sent him up for a closer look, but didn’t get too close. I didn’t have the smoothest landing earlier in the day with the fog and I damaged one of his rotor blades and well, even a small nick causes him to become less responsive, not to mention the wind farm is, of course, in a windy area so he was harder to control than usual. So he really just went up and then back down. Next month I’ve getting a POV kit for him so I can see what he is seeing and guide him better, can’t wait to make some nice videos then, it’s a little hard when you’re basically flying blind.


Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria
Clean Energy in the making in Victoria

After this quick sojourn we head back to Ballarat to catch some of the local footy. They are in first weeks of finals and this was a qualifying finals game. Our local team the Bacchus Marsh Cobras were playing Ballarat Swans in the 2014 B&M Truck Parts Reserves competition, and I’m happy to announce we trounced them. 104 to 52. Looks like they’ll be rematching again next week, but if this week was any indication it seems Bacchus Marsh are headed for the Grand Final.

I’ve decided I need better lenses to capture footy. My 70-200 even with the 1.4 converter just isn’t doing it for me. We were on the wrong side of the ground, all the action was happening on the other side. That is until I went to the other side then all the play went to the other side… seems it’s always the way. We actually left the game at half time and caught up on the scores later. There was so much more to do with the day.

Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh
Ballarat v Bacchus Marsh

Our next stop was Mount Buninyong. We’ve been here before but wanted to check it out on this beautiful day. At the top of the mountain (more a hill) there is a lookout tower used during the fire season to keep an eye on the surrounding areas, but it also has a public viewing platform. There are a LOT of steps up and I’m not going to lie it almost kills me walking up them, but maybe I should make it a regular thing to improve the fitness.

You can see the view from the top below. It’s quite nice. Though the weather was great, I would have preferred a less foggy/misty day. I guess the view is worth the stairs. Both the photos below were taken with my iPhone 5S.

Lookout from Mount Buninyong's Observation Tower
Mount Buninyong - iPhone Panorama

After Buninyong we head home via Lal Lal Falls. Again we’d been there before but there is water there now. Only problem with this visit is we went at the wrong time. The afternoon is not a good time to visit these falls during winter, the sun is in the wrong spot and it’s nothing but shadows in the falls. I present the photo below more as a record of the stop and to show why we should have gone there in the morning.

Lal Lal Falls

On the way home from there we came to a massive “dip” in the road. I say that because just before you drive down into what feels like a ravine there is a little “dip” sign. At the bottom of the dip was a beautiful sight: a lush green field with cows and a solitary tree. Because of the dip there weren’t any safe places to stop so we had to do a U-Turn and come back through. It was worth the trouble I reckon.

Cow and Tree on a Hill

And finally, our last stop, was back where the day began at the top of the hill in Bacchus Marsh to show just how fogged in we were in the morning, with a photo showing the view from the same location after the fog and mist had burnt off.

Overlooking Bacchus Marsh - Afternoon - No Fog

The day ended with a mow of the back lawn, it’s nice to have this job to do after so many years of no grass in the yard at our old house, and some TV while eating reheated Pizza for dinner.

It was a full day and a fun day. I got plenty of sun, which should make my doctor happy (I’m low on Vitamin D). Another nice day is on the cards for tomorrow, not sure what we’re going to do with it, it may involve some hammock time with a good book.

Internet Connection

SpeedTest

So it’s been a while since I’ve sat in my chair in our computer room at home. With the way my desk was set up, my computer was sitting to the left of my desk right in the corner of the room. Seems however there’s something in that particular spot which saw my poor computer trapped in some kind of makeshift Faraday cage, so basically I was unable to connect the Internet, it sucked.

But I’ve moved my monitor into the corner and my laptop to the right side of my desk and everything is awesome again. Much better than the alternative, which was to spend $400 on another Airport Extreme to put in our room to extend the network further.

So here’s the latest SpeedTest result from my desk. Our maximums are 100Mb down and 40Mb up… so not bad really.

In the Hangar

In the Hangar

Today I went to visit the Essendon Football Club with our Senior Publisher to record some video interviews with the players and coach of the club. We were advised we’d be making the recordings in the club’s boardroom in front of an iconic painting, sounded great. I brought all of my gear, three lights, cameras and cables.

When we arrived we found out we were actually filming in the hangar, another icon of the Essendon Bombers. It was a great looking location, but sadly it is a massive space that loves to ingest sound and create noise. Outside the Hangar there is a lot of construction going on. Big machinery is moving earth and building structures, the hangar captures it all.

Essendon's Hangar

I think we did alright, all things considered.

Jobe arrived in his training gear, flouro yellow is never a great look on camera, though he carried himself well. He was courteous, his responses measured and articulate. We got nothing but good footage from him.

Mark “Bomber” Thompson arrived about half an hour late. He dallied on his way to us, it felt as if he was trying to avoid us. Essendon is going through a bunch of stuff and has spent a lot of time in front of the media of late, but we weren’t here about that. Once he made it to us Bomber sat down on the seat and proceeded to shoot the breeze, still not overly eager to get to what we were there to do. He was funny and charming. Once we finally got started he was on. His answers about Dick Reynolds were great.

Courtney, our publisher, asked Mark Thompson and Jobe Watson a series of questions, from which we’ll be creating a series of short videos to promote our book, “King Richard“. We also took a couple of photos of the interviewees with our book.

Jobe Watson
Mark 'Bomber' Thompson with King Richard
Mark 'Bomber' Thompson with King Richard

We also interviewed Dyson Heppell, at 22 maybe he’s a little too young to remember or understand the legacy of Dick Reynolds, Dyson doesn’t have the football family Jobe has to pass on the stories. His answers probably aren’t usable for our purpose. But we’ll see how we can edit them.

The setting in the Hangar

Below is one of the videos, I’ll probably replace it a few more times as I update the styles and the edits.

A Human Equivalent