Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just call me Willie Nelson

"On the road again . . . . "  That describes how we will spend the weekend.  After being home with enough time to do the laundry we all depart on Friday for three weeks giving retreats.  I will travel with Michael and Jaume by car to Melbourne.  Ten hours (minimum) away.  Will spend the night there and then leave early in the AM for a short jaunt (relatively speaking) of three hours to Warrnambool where I get out while the other two proceed to their placements.  

Warrnambool is on the coast.  As in it is a three-block walk from the parish to the beach.  It is quite a tourist town during the summer and will have many visitors this weekend for the annual horse races.  Beachniks do not fret.  It is going to be much too cold to swim.  Remember, it is mid-autumn here.  The lows will be in the 40's.   I checked Warrnambool out via Google satellite.  It looks great.  And, at 33,000 population is a very large town by Australian standards.  

Some thoughts on taking animal photos.  I can understand the challenge of hunting.  Though I don't hunt I have no objections to it.  I simply can't handle a gun.  Every time I went to a rifle range, say in boy scout camp (once, only once and never again) I was a less than good shot.  Because of tinnitus for the past twenty years, the sound of a gun going off in my ear would not be pleasant.  However, pursuit with a camera is analogous.  There is something exciting about getting close enough to get a decent photo or, I assume, a good shot.

The photos of the deer were purely accidental.  I was sitting on a log trying to get some shots of a rainbow lorikeet (a bird).  Looked up and the deer (there are not many here) was staring at me.  He stayed around long enough for about a dozen shots.

Photographing kangaroos is a real sport.  Several things about them.  
1.  They don't see well.  That was a plus.  I was wearing a gray (Penn State) hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, a dark blue windbreaker (guess what was written over the left breast), black jeans and black sneaks.  It was overcast. They seemed unfazed when they saw me because I suspect I looked like at 5'10" visiting kangaroo.  
2.  They hear and smell very well.  The good news was that I was upwind.  And, it had rained all night and thus no snapping twigs or crackling grass; factors which scared them off on previous expeditions, resulting in shots taken from quite a distance.
3.  They are apparently not too bright.  At one point it was able to put a tree between them and me and advance much closer much faster.  A video of this venture would have been hilarious.  I looked like a demented tai chi practitioner, slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch (and no one said Niagara Falls!).  They were blissfully chomping on grass.  At one point they were only 10 yards away.   
4.  The joeys are cute.   See below.
5.  They are very fast.  The photo below was one of the few I got without complete blurring because it was shot at ISO 800 rather than 100. 
6.  They are affectionate.  These last two blew my mind.  
Right after this shot they hopped away.  Given that I had spent at least 15  minutes taking pix (shot over 100) it was time to give up the pursuit.  

Later on I will try to post a few photos from the trip to the Adelaide Zoo.  

It is getting late.  Time for sleep.  Pack tomorrow and leave by 6 AM Friday. 

+Fr. Jack

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