Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tales of Whales and Photography

The annual migration of the giants of the deep has started and here along Queensland’s Coast we are afforded some of the best viewing of these amazing mammals. As many of you already know one of our favourite places to view and photograph these animals is in the calm waters of Hervey Bay.

Now while you won’t see Melville’s legendary Moby Dick, you may see Nala, Roxanne, Cupid, Caesar, Merlin, Phantom, Venus and Raoul, just a few of the humpbacks that call in for a spell on their way to and from the deep cold waters of Antarctica. And then there’s Migaloo, the White Whale’, who has already been spotted off Fraser Island in June.

Humpback whales are naturally curious about objects in their environment and many are easily identifiable as individuals because of the markings on their fins and bodies. And this is where photographers can play a huge part. According to the Oceania Institute, humpback whales often show their tails before diving under the water and each has markings that make it unique. By taking photographs researchers can monitor the movements of individuals. More than 1000 whales have been identified this way.

The lifecycle of the southern humpback whale brings them into the Fraser Coast, which has helped the region become Australia’s top whale watching destination. Each May humpbacks leave the rich feeding grounds of Antarctica and make the annual 6000 kilometre journey to the breeding grounds in the warm waters of the Whitsundays, north of Fraser Island. Some of the females will give birth, while the others will mate.

A Humpback plays in the warm waters off Fraser Island.
Image by Danielle Lancaster

After spending a short period of time in the Whitsunday area, the whales start the long journey south, many of them coming into Platypus Bay for as long as five days, some staying for only a day.

It is believed that the shallow calm waters provide shelter giving the whales the opportunity to socialise and to give the new-born calves a chance to grow stronger before they continue south.

A huge tip when photographing whales is to use a polariser filter. It reduces the reflections from the water on their bodies and the surrounding ocean.

Each year Bluedog Photography runs photography tours to Fraser Island and as another approaches we are excited about going back and capturing the humpbacks.

During this tour Peter Meyer, resident photographer, Danielle Lancaster and Cathy Finch will show some of their favourite places on the island for photography. The tour has been especially designed so you don’t have to drive or own a 4WD – all vehicles will be supplied with many added inclusions including your transfers to the island, accommodation at the acclaimed eco resort, Kingfisher Bay Resort, and of course the whale watching tour!

Kingfisher Bay Resort is the gateway to the World Heritage wilderness of Fraser Island. This Australian icon is famous for its ancient rainforests, spectacular fresh-water lakes, remarkable wildlife and famous 75-Mile Beach with streams spilling into the ocean, mighty sand blows, coloured sand and even a shipwreck.

Limited numbers ensure you gain a personal yet rewarding experience on one of our favourite places on Earth! Places are limited to two 4WD vehicles only with our own drivers. Participants will get the chance to join both drivers.

As with all the Bluedog tours: this is a photography tour designed for photographers by photographers! And with the first tour for 2010 all booked out another tour date has been announced for October - there are still 3 places left!

For more information on the Bluedog-Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island Photography Tour visit www.blue-dog.com.au/Fraser-Island-photography.htm or
email info@blue-dog.com.au

For more information on Kingfisher Bay Resort visit http://www.kingfisherbay.com/

Big news for Kingfisher Bay Resort is that they have again teamed with the pioneers of whale watching in Hervey Bay – Brian and Jill Perry and their Quick Cat II vessel to run whale watching excursions direct from Fraser Island to Platypus Bay in search of Roxanne, Migaloo, Raoul and other new faces

Did you know?
There were around 10,000 Humpback Whales off eastern Australia in 1952. In 1962, after 10 years of commercial whaling, that number had been reduced to a critically low 100 individuals. Generally humpback whales are off the Queensland coast between late Autumn and late Spring. They turn south in July and August with about a quarter of the population entering Hervey Bay.

Almost on cue another lunges out of the sea to cheers from the passengers
and to many clicks of cameras.
Image by Danielle Lancaster

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bluedog goes to Italy

It’s a long way for us to travel from the Bluedog kennel to Italy. There’s many hours to be spent on a plane and a strong possibility there will be exhaustion to greet you at the other end. However, we have found an easier way!

Venture to a delightful authentic slice of Italy transplanted into the glorious Fraser Coast, near Hervey Bay, Queensland. Villa Cavour hosts Mara and Rocco have successfully brought the flavours and sights of Italy with them and are now sharing it with all of us!

The city of Cavour is the home of the Italian slow food movement and back home in Italy as a chef Rocco had a strong following of gourmets who would travel to taste his sensational cooking. Thankfully for us he now shares his talents with his guests in a hands-on cooking experience where you can make your own dinner using fresh local ingredients with the perfect Italian chef to guide you.

We made our own pasta, grissini and amazing sauces. And there was something quite enchanting about eating Moreton Bay bugs over pasta we had made, served on tableware once used in a castle and sipping fine Italian wine handpicked and imported by Rocco and Mara.

The Bed and Breakfast itself is a custom built house over two levels with self contained rooms upstairs and lounge, dining and kitchen downstairs. The kitchen definitely forms the hub of the activities with Rocco.

In our Bed and Breakfast ratings it rates a 9 and one of the pups has already booked a return visit.
Grazie Rocco and Mara. Grazie Mille!!!
For more info visit: http://www.villacavour.com.au/
And another bonus, all good Italians know about good coffee!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Photographers Rights

This is now a serious issue. Have you the time to give and protect our rights as photographers?

Guest Post:
Earle Bridger
 I am organising a field trip to Sydney to take part in a rally that will protest against the continuing harassment and prevention of photographers taking photographs in public places. Read the press release below for details.
The coach will take 48 people from QCA Brisbane and pick up from QCA Gold Coast. It will leave AM on Friday 27th August and return PM on Monday 30th August.

The cost of the coach per person is $140. We will stay in hostel accommodation in Sydney (http://www.elephantbackpacker.com.au/) at $20 per night (including breakfast).

If you are interested let me know by Thursday so that I can secure bookings.

Earle Bridger

You should also Google details of similar action taken in the United Kingdom at

Rally for Concerned Photographers

Ken Duncan is organising a Sydney rally to raise awareness about the eroding rights of photographers in Australia.

Australian photographers are losing their rights to freedom of expression. And it doesn‟t matter whether they are full-time professional, part-time or strictly amateur, as every person who has a camera can be threatened with unjust laws and regulations.

“We must be the only country in the world where you could get a criminal record for taking a picture of a rock,” said Ken Duncan, the Chairman of Arts Freedom Australia.

“And because of this shameful situation, I am asking photographers and other concerned citizens to protest against the undemocratic regulations which now restrict film-making and photography in many of our public places,” Mr Duncan added.

To this end, Arts Freedom Australia (AFA) will hold a rally near Campbells Cove on Sydney Harbour on Sunday, August 29th between 10am and 12 noon to reinforce its message. “We need to make the Australian public aware of this threat to our freedoms,” Mr Duncan said.

“Because I am sure that they will support our campaign.” Founded in 2004, Arts Freedom Australia is an umbrella body representing Australia‟s major photographic associations as well as many individual photographers. AFA was formed because of an industry-wide concern about government policies that were turning Australia into a land of “forbidden horizons”.

AFA has recently completed a comparative study of legislation and policies imposed on photographers and film-makers within Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America. “The result of this study demonstrates that the rights of Australian photographers and film-makers are being seriously affected by a myriad of rules and regulations that impose prohibitive restrictions, high fees, and bureaucratic application protocols,” Mr Duncan said.

“What we should have in this country are simple rules – like they have in America‟s national parks – which allow photography to be carried out in all places where the public can go.” Mr Duncan began his career as a landscape photographer more than thirty years ago at a time when access to beaches, national parks and other public lands was not an issue. “I was very lucky that I began my photographic career at a time when there were much greater freedoms than there are today,” Mr Duncan said. “But I want the young photographers of today and those who will succeed them in the decades to come to enjoy those same freedoms that I once had.”

Mr Duncan cites the photographic restrictions at Uluru, the “photographic licences‟ required in the national parks of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Regulation 2006 and the onerous Use of Public Open Space regulations of Sydney‟s Waverley Council as attacks on freedom of expression.

“Australia has been a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1980 and one of the articles of the ICCPR states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and the right to impart information and ideas of all kinds whether it‟s in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media,” Mr Duncan said.

“However the bureaucrats who have drafted the new regulations restricting photography have clearly forgotten that”. Mr Duncan said that landscape photographers such as Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis helped to instil a pro-conservation mindset amongst Australia‟s people, while other photographers such as Max Dupain had produced iconic images that would be treasured for many decades to come. But he said that unless the draconian laws that were currently in place were not rolled back that all types of photography would be affected and that our society as a whole would be diminished as a result.

For more information or to arrange interviews, call Stephanie Wilson on (02) 4307 8402 or email swilson@kenduncan.com.
Share on Facebook

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Nikon leads fashion stakes and launches “street style” assignment.

Nikon Australia has been named the Official Camera Partner for the 2010 Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW), taking place from 30 August – 5 September. Along with its sponsorship of the event, Nikon has partnered with MSFW to offer My Nikon Life members the ultimate money-can’t-buy photography experience.

The latest My Nikon Life assignment invites members to upload photos which illustrate their interpretation of “street style,” accompanied by a brief explanation of their shot. A panel of judges will select two winners, who will go on to become Nikon’s Official 2010 MSFW photographers for a day!

This ultimate fashion photography experience includes red carpet media access, a Nikon photographer to guide the winners through shooting the runway, an invitation to the MSFW Official Opening Party and many other money can’t buy opportunities! More information is available at http://mynikonlife.com.au/assignments/from-the-hip

Image by contributing photographer, Monty Coles www.theloupe.org

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A top tip for anyone visiting Airlie Beach

Check out Fish D’Vine! Here local chef Kevin Collins will treat you to the bounties of the sea.

Described as a ‘fresh, fun and affordable!’ restaurant, Fish D’Vine is by no means lacking in menu imagination or providing a quality dining experience.

Last week we sampled fish, prawns and a soothing Jamaican Vanilla Rum, the chef’s choice, from over 300 on offer to ease down our desert.

Don’t eat seafood? No problems they have other choices and a nippers menu as well.

As they say, ‘We’ll be back’.

WINNER: Lifestyle TV’s Queensland I Love Food Awards

303 Shute Harbour Road
Airlie Beach Qld 4802

Phone 07 4948 0088