Australia Adventures of an Amateur Photographer

“Carry your camera” my DW [Darling Wife] said. “You will have opportunity to do wild life photography in Australia” she said as we packed our bags. I noticed the smirk on her face and on the face of my children who otherwise refrained from making fun of their father.

My adventures in photography have been a subject matter of joke. But I have the same quality which Uruguay team displayed in the World Cup. My friends say so. Uruguay lost to Spain, the champions, eleven times before kicking them out of tournament. I am sure my turn will come soon in putting these people with smirks in their place.

But we are digressing from my point which is that we were all set to travel to Australia and New Zealand. And my ‘enthu’ as the younger generation would say, was at an all-time high. I picked up an eight GB card to hold my countless photographs in my camera.

The first halt was at Rotorua in New Zealand. The tour operator took us to a sheep shearing show. We met this merino there. Actually we met many different types of sheep, but this was like the queen. And it was ready for shearing!

In New Zealand one finds only sheep and the cattle. There were birds but very elusive ones. Not very kind to me; did not pose for me. It happens. May be I need a better camera. But that is a very controversial subject at home.
Even so, we found some animals in this picture. How many can you see?

So moved to Australia. Have you seen ‘the Penguin Parade?’ This is as well organized as the passing out parade of NDA. The authorities announce what time to expect penguins to arrive. They say for example ‘At 17.58 hrs.’ They are bang on target on most occasions! I wonder how they know. Penguins are not known to speak and disclose their secrets. Perhaps penguins at Phillip Island are as disciplined as Australians are. You are not allowed to photograph penguins so I couldn’t. The one shown here is downloaded from internet.

Penguins, these are tiny penguins, arrive and assemble on a small rock. You notice them when they get out of water and light reflects on their white belly.  ‘There, there’ people say excitedly in what they think is a hush hush tone. In about two or three minutes the penguin number swells up to over fifty. Then they walk out of their assembly point almost like an army battalion. We thought one was in the lead.

Within minutes they get into the bush where their path is well chalked out. And we see more penguins arriving near the ‘assembly point.’ Another battalion marches out. Amazing are the ways of penguins!

On our way to Phillip Island, we went to a park to meet the Kangaroos. A ‘mob’ of kangaroos [that’s the collective noun for a group of kangaroos] continued with their supper. They ignored us as you will see from the photograph but one kangaroo came very close to meet us, but a fence separated him from us. Life is like that!

Move to Sydney. Near Sydney Opera. I found the ‘conductor’ and his musicians resting near the Sydney Bridge. Seagulls are such lovely birds. And one seagull struck a beautiful ballerina pose, though having just one leg!

Cairns provides the best opportunity for a photographer. There is a rain forest which is so beautiful that you regret spending too little time there. The flora and fauna amazes you and you keep thinking about it while you are walking. That is how I got lost in the Cairn town, but that is another story.

We went to rain forest. You travel in what they call ‘Army Duck!’ Wikipedia tells you that ‘DUKW [Duck] is a six-wheel-drive modification of the 2-ton capacity “deuce” trucks used by the U.S. military in World War II amphibious truck, designed by a partnership under military auspices of Sparkman & Stephens and General Motors Corporation (GMC) for transporting goods and troops over land and water, and approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks. Designed only to last long enough to meet the demands of combat, DUKWs were later used as tourist craft in marine environments. DUKW means D=Designed in 1942, U=Utility K=all-Wheel Drive, W=dual rear axles.’ That’s for the GK!

And wow! What a ride it was!!

We discovered ‘Nesting Ferns.’ The botanist in me woke up. I began telling fellow travelers that those are ‘epiphytic’ ferns which grow on trees and rocks. But before I could complete they turned their attention completely on the nesting fern!

And somebody screamed suddenly. Familiar voice I felt. Oh yes. It was my DW. She pointed out to what she called a chameleon. But the guide corrected her [and that is why she listened to him] that it was Water Dragon.

Readers will remember that I had had a similar experience with Water Monitor in Sri Lanka; rather my DW had had a similar experience. I think I know why reptiles follow me, nay my DW, in all continents. I have a theory, of course, but it is impolitic to put it on my blog.

And then we went to Butterfly Sanctuary. Never seen so many of them. Constantly flying all around us. The guide said it is impossible to photograph them while they are flying, I took the challenge – she won! But I managed to take some shots while they sat down.

The guide said that a “female butterfly mates only once [but that does not apply to male butterfly. This is true of males of almost all species, right?]. She is on top. They remain attached for 6 to 14 hours! And during this act, the male sleeps!” Believe me, these are the words of our guide. No comments further.

And finally in Canberra we saw some birds. Cockatoos! They are not elusive but it is easy to lose them in the foliage. And I do not know what this B&W bird is called. It appeared to be a scavenger.

And finally this. Unforgettable.