Photography ... astronomy ... art ... design ... technology
(... and the odd rant)

All of these make my world go 'round, to some extent, and they will all be found here at some time or other. Some of the photography can be purchased from my Redbubble site. I can also be found at Tempus Fugit (no longer being updated).

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I virtually always carry a camera with me; two, if you count the one in the phone. Very often, I also carry a desire for a coffee. Not that I'm a caffeine addict: at home, I drink decaf - it's simpler, as Heather doesn't do caffeine if she can avoid it, so we only have to have one jar in the cupboard, and that decaf is as satisfying as a legit cafe brew.

When we were in Ipswich some time ago, we were gasping for a cuppa, and couldn't seem to find anywhere that looked like they served a decent brew; when we finally found somewhere, it was pretty disappointing, so we effectively wrote off Ipswich as a coffee-free zone. Since then however, we have found a few places worth a second visit.

One such is Nourish Real Food Cafe, in Brisbane St. It's fairly new, light, airy, and the tables aren't crammed in together. The food is adventurous and the coffee perfectly good. The building was renovated about 18 months ago, and they have gone for the bare brisks look, contrasted by a faux laneway to one side, presumably going to other premises.

My camera eye can be drawn by all sorts of things, but the play of light and shade is usually pretty tempting. Once, at a gallery, I was as fascinated by the shadows cast by a series of exhibits mounted on a row of small shelves as I was with the art itself. There was no artist statement attaching to the shelves. Here, it was the clean lines and subtle shadows on a textured white wall that stopped me in my tracks.

Inside the cafe, it was the walls that fascinated me. Nothing new or terribly unusual about bare brick walls in a modern establishment, but it was the pattern that seemed unusual. Heather knows a thing or two about bricklaying bonds (who'd have thought?), but this didn't seem like a bond that would have made it through building control. What would I know? The apprentice's first attempt?

The last few posts have touched on my inability to abandon film photography, but these were taken with the digital camera that I usually carry. I suspect that in the next five years it may expire; it's unlikely to last another ten. However, I have just bought a bulk load of black & white film, and shall soon run it through some cameras still going strong after 40 years or more. After film camera values plummeted in the last decade, they are becoming valuable again as a new generation of photographers discovers the appeal of traditional non-digital methods.

I shall also be exploring the world of developing the film in coffee and vitamin C—a combination known as Caffenol—which sounds nuts but is chemically quite plausible and has a growing number of advocates and practitioners. And why not do something different, if it works? Watch this space.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


A bright, clear crescent Moon did shine down last night, and with a young man interested in seeing through the big scope, I stirred myself to grant his wish. While looking at the ancient surface, I noticed that the seeing was pretty good, so got the camera mounted for a few snaps.

There's nothing groundbreaking about a pic of the crescent Moon, of course, but it's always pleasing and never looks the same twice—unless you wait a long time and look at every possible opportunity. On this occasion though, there was a pinprick of light inside a large crater, evidence of day breaking upon a central mountain peak ... and who doesn't like a mountain sunrise?

The telescope is effectively acting as a 1200mm f8 long lens, which is pretty big on a crop sensor camera (Canon 40D). At ISO-400, the exposure would be reasonably short, except that I wanted to make the most of that little sunlit mountaintop, so took exposures of 1/13, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200 second, to get detail in both highlights and dark areas near the terminator (the day/night boundary). I then combined all 5 exposure levels to make an HDR image.

The southern highlands, at top, appear more heavily cratered as they haven't been overlaid with lava,which process produced the dark 'seas' in the northern hemisphere.
Maurolycus, with central peak lit

The crater trio Catharina, Cyrillus and Theophilus, beside the Sea of Nectar
Sea of Tranquility; Apollo 11 site circled


Sunday, October 18, 2015

A peripatetic camera

It's been far too long since I've posted here, so here's a post I made as a guest on the 35mmc (35mm compact camera) blog. I became temporary custodian of a point and shoot camera ("The Traveling Yashica"), and used that quaint but not-yet-dead medium, photographic film. It was fun, even if I didn't love the camera. The premise is simple: receive the camera and shoot a film, then blog the results:

"I have decided to send my Yashica T5 around some of the nice folks I cross paths with on twitter, get them to shoot a roll of film then send the camera to someone else who wants to take part.
All I ask is that anyone who ends up with the camera sends me some photos and a little bit of a backstory to go with them." -- Hamish Gill

As I still love the look and palaver that goes with using film (I never stopped, just stopped shooting it except on very rare occasions), I thought it would be a worthwhile thing to do.

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium at dusk
The Traveling Yashica: Duncan Waldron (Camira, Australia)