Underwater Camera

Tuesday, 8 March 2005 | link | tag | / Photography
I should have an underwater housing for my Canon 300D Digital Rebel by mid-March. I'm also getting a DS-125 Substrobe and the port for the kit 18-55mm lens that comes with the SLR. I was tossing up whether to get an underwater housing for a second digital camera that I had, a Nikon Coolpix 5700, but the money required was nearly as much as for the 300D enclosure, and its nowhere near the amount of camera.


Monday, 28 February 2005 | link | tag | / Jokes
"It rubs the lotion on its skin" is a favourite quip around the office - usually when given a command or told to do something you have little input into...

Thailand - Pattaya

Friday, 25 February 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Thailand
Thailand was fantastic. I went to Pattaya which is on the west side of the Gulf of Thailand, the ocean therefore is to the west even though Pattaya is on the east coast of Thailand. You could watch a sunset over the ocean, which was very special. I stayed at a little resorty hotel thing (didn't really know it was a resort when I booked it) but it had beachfront and hammocks and stuff. I ate BBQ prawns beside the ocean and watched the sun go down, had a few beers.

The diving wasn't especially good, the reef pretty unremarkable. It was good to be in the water though, its been far to long. The boat was nice and comfortable, and a full Thai lunch, so it was a great day out in the sun at the very least.

I had an aroma-therapy massage on Sunday after the diving which was sensational. I basically just lay there and drooled for a bit while all my muscles were convinced they were in fact not sore at all. Afterwards I went back to the room and did a bit more drooling and listened to some music.

Pattaya is rather popular for its 'night life' it has a thriving red light precinct, one that's remarkably famous from what I understand. The main street, Walking Street, has hundreds of bars and clubs all featuring 'go-go' dancers, which is a nice way of saying strippers... The streets are invariably cluttered with Pad Thai stands, neon lights, hawkers for the clubs and pirated DVD's... I got the feeling that you could probably get anything illegal you might happen to want within about 10 feet if you just asked.

The sleezy bits aside, Pattaya was an experience. So cheap ! The whole weekend cost me S$300 (about AUD$260), including the flights and hotel, diving. I have another stamp in my passport... Bringing the total countries to 4 ;)

Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens), Singapore

Friday, 28 January 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Singapore
The Haw Par Villa, or Tiger Balm Gardens was built by the brothers who developed the wonder medicine Tiger Balm and made a fortune from it.

I don't think I've ever seen a bigger monument to concrete, plaster, and bright colours anywhere. The park is unbeleivably kitcsh, goudy colours, luridly detail depictions of violence. An excellet place for the kiddies.

The buddist 'Ten Levels of Hell' Exhibit is a must see. Witness the punishment for 'ungratefullness' for example and tremble... (having your heart cut out).

There is also a large collection of jade sculptures in the park which finished things off nicely.

The photo's don't really capture the scale of the place. Its a bit of a jaw dropper.

Singapore Botanical Gardens and National Orchid Garden

Saturday, 22 January 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Singapore
I spent a few hours at the botanical gardens in Singapore today. They were closer to my apartment then I was expecting...

The gardens has a huge expanse of natural rainforest in the heart of it, and is surrounded by formal gardens and paved and grassed areas that seemed fairly popular with family groups and picnicers.

I concentrated mainly on the Orchid gardnes, which is the only part of the park that has an admission charge - on corner of the gardens is given over to the Orchids.

I got the impression that it wasn't really the right time of year for the Orchids to be flowering, as many weren't. Those that were though were putting on a mighty fine show of diversity and colour.

Highlights were the coolhouse, showcasing some orchid species from cooler climes, and the Celbrity garden, featuring hybrid orchids named after visiting dignitaries and heads of state. I thought the Orchid named after Margret Thatcher was particularely apt - withered and twisted little flowers :)

The photos tell it better than I can...

Singapore Zoological Gardens

Friday, 14 January 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Singapore
Frank and I visited the Singapore Zoo. The Zoo is set on a point of land at the very top of the Upper Seletar Reserve. Considering we crossed the entire island from south to north to get there, the $15 taxi fair was stunning.

The Zoo takes great pride in having no fences, no bars, no restraints for animals. Most of the habitats have 'psychological' barriers instead like moats of water, raised rock platforms and walls, or just enforced feeding areas. The primate collection has largely free reign of the entire park and you often spied a monkey in a nearby tree.

Some of the habitats were enclosed simply through nessesity. The cool enclosure for the penguins, for example.

The zoo had also taken great care to simulate habitats that are as natural as possible. The cheetahs had grass and trees to climb in, the baboons had dust and rocks to congregate in. I didn't see one animal that looked remotely upset or bored.

We spent about 4 hours at the zoo, walked our feet off and had a ball. An absolutely stunning place, and a photographers paradise.

My favourite of the day would have to be the white tigers.

Myall Lakes N.P., Seal Rocks

Sunday, 2 January 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
I took Bug for a drive up to Seal Rocks via the Myall Lakes National Park. There are two delightful tourist drives that go through the Myall Lakes, one starting just north of Karuah the other starting just north of Bulahdelah. The first section takes your along the coast and near Mungo Brush, and there is a ferry to cross which is very cute.

The second section winds it way amoung the lakes and the ocean, offering some stunning views of the water and forest. A short way into the second section is the Grandis - the tallest tree in NSW. The Grandis is a mightly flood gum and really has to be seen to get a feel for how grand it truly is. The Grandis is at the end of a delightful dirt road that winds it way up through the dense forest.

We finished off the day with a swim at Seal Rocks, about halfway along the second section of the tourist drive. Seal rocks is magic, and the day was sunny and hot, the water cool and plesant and the beach nearly deserted.

Thirlmere Lakes N.P.

Sunday, 26 December 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
I took mum and dad for a drive south west of Sydney to the Thirlmere Lakes N.P. and the lookout above. The lookout brings you a view of the tail end of the Blue Mountains N.P. and the start of a Nattai N.P. A breathtaking view.

Futher down in the Thirlmere Lakes N.P. is a lovely day trip spot with an excellent swimming spot along one of the lakes - full of tea tree colour and children.

A beautiful day.

Kurnell - Steps, Leap to Steps

Saturday, 25 December 2004 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - Sydney / Kurnell
Caught up with Andrew for one last dive in Oz before I head of to Singapore. Perfect conditions, the water was a delightful 20 degrees at the steps. A bit murky in the water, but a good dive nonetheless. Lots and lots of nudibranchs out, the odd giant cuttlefish, and a couple of very friendly blue grouper.

There were plenty of fishermen about, but the only fish they nearly caught was an Andrew... damn fool fishermen. Don't they know there are no fish about?

Blue Mountains - The Three Sisters

Friday, 10 December 2004 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
I drove my friend Zoe to Springwood so that she could meet her new kitten. Zoe's buying a Russian Blue and the kittens are still not quite ready to go home yet. Absolutely beautiful cats, sleek and muscular - bigger than the Korat's I've owned. They have a very 'big cat' look to them, high shoulders, low head and long face. They have a very predator like stance. Stunning animals.

After visiting with the kittens we drove on to Katoomba and to the mountains tourist drive, and found a nice lookout with a fantastic view of the Three Sisters. The normal Katoomba lookout just doesn't give you a view this good - its very curious why its even there.

The day dawned perfectly blue sky and nice and cool. It progressed to fluffy white clouds and warm - a amrvelous day to out with the trees, and to have the sunroof open.