Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge – G or H

This week’s B&W Challenge is all about things starting with the letter G or H; so off I trot, to find a suitable gallery – Hippos, ghosts, geese, happy, historic and heritage listed grand old Houses.

Here’s hoping you all have a brilliant weekend, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

Autumn Wanderings – Serendip Sanctuary

DSC_8207I’ll admit it, it is actually Autumn, but here in Melbourne we are having an Indian Summer and the warm days are still with us; in fact some days are quite hot.

A recent weekend adventure lead us to Serendip Sanctuary in Lara on the Western Plains of Victoria (between Melbourne and Geelong). The sanctuary, an excellent example of the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic plains. There are over 150 different species of birds which breed or visit the Sanctuary and they can be viewed from the excellent bird hides. Birds can be seen within metres of the viewing areas preening, feeding, sitting on eggs and looking after their young.

The Wildlife Walk is a popular walk offering close encounters with wildlife, although we only saw a few emus, wallabies and some pademelon (very small wallabies), supposedly walking these paths you should also see Grey Kangaroo too. The flight aviaries perfect for bird watching, you can get up close to some Brolgas, Cape Baron Geese and parrots, we even got up close and personal with some (not very well hidden) Tawny Frogmouth.

There are other walks, which we declined due to getting quite warm. There are picnic tables and an information building. It was a wonderful afternoon and would be a great spot for children.

~ Julz

Early Evening Geraniums…

I decided to take the new Olympus Camera out for a spin in the gardens, it was early evening, twilight almost and the crickets were singing. Sitting in the back corner of the garden, enjoying a cuppa, I picked and placed some geraniums for the pop of colour. Of course my girl Chloe was there to keep me company.

I love Summer evenings and wish they would never end. So the camera performed adequately in low light, hand held on F/2.0 aperture. I think I am starting to get the hang of it…..still very different from my big Nikon DSLR, and the images are a little grainy. I certainly would not use it for a Wedding or Newborn shoot, but I think for things like still life and holiday snaps it is actually quite good.

I hope you have an amazing weekend…

~ Julz

Regular Random – Hippos

I love me some Hippos, apart from Elephants Hippos must be my second favourite of the large animals on this planet. Sure I love a lot of little animals too………but of the really big, can’t keep as pets variety, for me it’s elephants and Hippos all the way. I know both are dangerous, especially Hippos, but there is just something about them, so on a recent trip to the Zoo I took a lot more than just five minutes with these guys, but here is a few pics.

 

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Want to join more Regular Randomness? Check out Desley Jane’s blog, where she hosts this weekly challenge.

Til next week, happy snapping…

~ Julz

Summer Outings – Werribee Zoo

Werribee Open Range Zoo is located 35 kilometres west of Melbourne’s city centre, on the Princes Freeway. It is a short 30-minute drive from the city over the Westgate Bridge or via the Geelong Road.

I was in need of a little bit of fun and frivolity, and we both needed to get out of the house; we vowed over the last 12 months to visit all three of Melbourne’ Zoos – this was the last one. Each of the Zoo’s have a different aspect to them, Healesville is excellent for Australian Wildlife and the Birds of Prey Show and Melbourne Zoo has the Butterfly House, the Elephants and so much more…but to me I still love the Werribee Zoo, it has an African Theme and most of the animals and many of the plants even are African. There is also an Australian Bushland Section, for the overseas visitors I suppose.

Werribee Zoo also has just put the new Lion Cubs on display this week…….have to see these guys!

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So that was out first port of call, as they were only on display in the mornings to start with and we got there a bit late…….they had finished playing were getting ready for a nap. Awwwwwwwww so cute.

Next were the Hippos….I gotta love me some Hippo, second only to elephants in my book. I know they are actually quite dangerous, but there is something about them, maybe coz my butt resembles one? lol

Anyway we wandered around and saw a few animals, Wild African Dogs, Gorillas, Monkeys, Meerkats and such, then headed over to the Safari Tour, we just did the standard bus tour, but next time the special photography tour by 4X4 might be in order. We got to drive out on the savannah and see buffalo, giraffes, ponies, zebra, eland, rhino and a few others, as well. The tour ride is about 40 minutes and sees quite a lot of animals and there is a guide pointing out animals, habitats and other interesting facts.

We sat and had lunch at the restaurant/cafe which has a long glass wall shared with the main Meerkat enclosure, eat and watch the cutest animals on the planet….yes please!

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As we still had plenty of time and had been around once, we decided to head back and see if the Lions had moved….we got some new ones this afternoon, but no movement.

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And then went back to the Hippos (of course) and then the Meerkats (for a coffee and cuteness).

Something new for us is the Australian Bushland exhibit and wetlands, we had not seen that before, and I will leave it for another post…I hope you enjoyed our wonderful day at the zoo; we certainly did.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

 

Monday’s Musings

After a fairly crappy week last week; feeling a little sorry for myself, as things didn’t go my way and a few comments that bit deep………….I decided it was time to get of my butt and do something fun. The weather was glorious for a day or two of shooting. we headed out to Werribee Park Zoo (part way between Melbourne and Geelong) as the new lion cubs were put on exhibit this week. Sadly, we should have gotten there earlier as the cubs were all played out, by the time we finally got there…….but still oh so cute.

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This Zoo is an African themed Zoo and most of the animals are African, but no Elephants?  Oh, but there are Hippos……….Oh I love me a hippo!

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So we spent a wondrous afternoon, walking from one end to the other, and back again. We then drove home for a cat nap, dinner and we were out again, this time to the other ends of the earth to the Mornington Peninsula as it was a great night for some astro photography

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This is a three shot Panorama………that’s the Milky Way, well the Southern part of it anyway.

Sunday was a big sleep in, we got home so very late. Did a few things pottering around the house, then started dying some cheesecloth I got, with natural ingredients like coffee, green tea and pomegranates. Learning, learning always learning. Will do a post later on this DIY.

I hope you all have a great week…

~ Julz

Furbaby Friday…

Well it has been awhile and I thought I would give an update. All Fur Babies are good, buddyBuddy is several months post op from his ruptured ACL and he is doing really well, the surgeon is super pleased and so are we. It was an ordeal to go through (for all of us) but now that we are on the other side we are so glad he had the surgery. He has a small limp, which may resolve in time, but he is pain free and such a happy boy again. Now to just keep him off the furniture, as he is not allowed to climb or jump on and off things anymore (I don’t think he got the memo!) He can now walk up to 30 minutes at a time before he tires out; we still need to build up the muscle mass he lost from not being allowed to walk for 5 weeks.

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Chloe has finally figure out she is no longer a pup, and she is slowly started to slow down. Her eyes are still bothering her at times and she startles easily and then gets snappy, but they said there is nothing that can be done; it’s not like cataracts or anything. Eventually she may or may not go blind and we will deal with that when it happens. While she is still happy and healthy, we just deal with her ‘grumpy’ moods and warn people not to grab at her.

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Zorro has been banned from playing in the backyard as he finally discovered a way to escape and we have a 24 hour cat curfew, besides I am terrified he will get on the road……don’t like to think about that!But he is still trim and healthy, but not very happy; no food and no outside makes for a very grumpy black cat. I need to get Hubby to fix that part of the fence to stop him roaming and then both cats can enjoy the outside again……hopefully before Winter.

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Teddy has his good days and bad days, he has never enjoyed the good health that the other three had, a rescue cat with health issues; is going to need special care, we knew it and love him anyway. He has a huge heart and a huge attitude; but sometimes we just have to leave him be when he is having a bad day. He often struggles to keep food down, and the arthritis in his spine, hips and tail make getting around difficult some days, but not others. We have looked at getting his tail amputated but after Buddy’s surgery it’s not a path I am going to undertake lightly and only has a last resort. When his bad days start overtaking his good days we may need to make a difficult decision, but for now he is mostly happy.

All my babies are over 10 years old and while they all have lot of good life ahead of them, I see them starting to slow down and worry that their best years are behind them. As much as I love having animals, this will be the hardest bunch to deal with yet and having all of them the same age will probably make it even harder.

The turtles on the other hand will outlive both of us! Sheldon is huge (nearly 20cm from nose to tail) and needs both hands to hold him now and he is only 2! Crush, while he was stressed and being eaten and bullied by Sheldon was so small and often sick and we were in danger of losing him……..now he is in his own tank is rapidly gaining weight and has doubled his size (approx 15cm) over the last few months, still a little way to catch Sheldon, but he is getting there. He is also not as timid and is becoming more curious again. We got them new feeding tanks a little while again, so no more escapes, well at least for the moment. Sheldon sulks that he has no one to bully apart from his fish, which he chases occasionally but never seems to catch. When we consider they were barely 3cm when we got them 2 years ago. Read about when we first got them and see photos here

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Sheldon (the orange blur is a fish)

That’s it, we still have all the fish inside and out, as well as the varied wildlife that call our gardens home, and while I love to watch them, I am not so attached.

~ Julz

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Big and Small

Yay! My post last week is featured on Cee’s page, thank you so much. Cee’s challenge theme this week for Fun Foto is Big and Small. I have had the pleasure over the last few years of photographing some very, very large things and some very small delicate this, both have their own unique challenges

Til next week, happy snapping…

~ Julz