Location: Manning Valley NSW
Date: August 2009

August 10, 2009. I've visited Mt George and Killawarra a couple of times, but for various reasons, mostly camera problems, I failed to get the pics I really wanted. These days, thanks to my experience on Red Bubble, I appreciate the value of high-resolution images. So yesterday, I visited those places again armed with my Fuji Finepix.

This time, I noticed an old abandoned running shoe placed on top of a post near the Killawarra Bridge. What was it doing there? I have no idea, but it seemed to be a fortuitous opportunity for an unusual photograph.

On the way to the bridge, west of Wingham, I spotted an idyllic scene - a grazing horse, a pond with ducks, and a rotunda thingy, and thought I must take a pic or two of that on my return, which I did. While I was there, I heard a voice from the farmhouse some distance away. "Can I help you with anything?" It took a while for me to figure out where the voice was coming from. I answered by saying that I was a hobby photographer taking pretty pictures. As it turned out, "Can I help you with anything" was what the lady asked but not what she meant. What she meant was, "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing taking photographs of my property?" Eventually, she met me at the front gate and expressed her displeasure at my intrusion, even though I was outside her property. I explained again what I was doing. "Have you got a card or something?" she demanded. A card? I'm a hobby photographer and I'm supposed to have a card? The fact that I do have a card, Aussie Odyssey, and handed her one is not the point. There are 20 million people in Oz and I doubt that the majority of them have cards hehe.

Anyway, she seemed satisfied that I wasn't a member of the paparazzi or some media person poking my lens in people's faces, and toddled back to the farmhouse, leaving me to continue my journey. I suppose you can't blame people for being suspicious of photographers. We see scenes of media hounds and paparazzi on TV all the time, sticking their unwelcome noses into other people's private affairs.

The situation would have been far more sensitive for this particular lady because she's a breeder of expensive thoroughbred stallions whose 'services' undoubtedly command a small fortune. I suspect she mixes with the hoi polloi of the racing and breeding fraternity as opposed to lower-class rabble like me.

As it happens, the photographs didn't turn out well because it was the wrong time of day. The sun was high in the sky and caused too much contrast, such as a washed-out sky. I wasn't too crazy about the electric fence either.

After that, I proceeded to Mt George and my favorite old leaning shed. You'll notice that I experimented with a couple of black & white versions of the shed pics. I think they're rather interesting, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Click here for the photo album.

August 6, 2009. My regular mechanic knows zip about tuning Bluey's carburetor, so I booked her into the Nissan service center this morning. It's a few miles out of Taree CBD, so I took the camera with me and walked back along the banks of the Manning River. Silly me! I spent almost 3 hours on these tired old legs. But it was worth it because there's so much more you see on foot.

Heading south, back to Taree, I came across the old and derelict dairy farmer's co-op that I visited a few days ago. From there, I found an disused railway line which I investigated, and then took a wander along the adjacent river bank. I spotted a blue tongue lizard sunbaking. He was eyeing me carefully in case I posed a threat. Who me? Those little guys are everywhere around here, and are perfectly harmless. 

Nearby is a disused pumping station. People I've spoken to on the phone are unsure of its original purpose but my guess is that it pumped fuel (probably diesel) from ship to shore to supply the local industrial complex. That would have been back in the days when the Pacific Hwy was inadequate for very large trucks, and when coastal shipping was used to transport heavy goods and bulk loads.

Further along, closer to town, I came across a pontoon near the rowing club and a boat ramp. There were a few pelicans hanging about hoping for a handout from fishermen so I stopped to take a few pics. Some of them are wonderful images, the best of which I'll save for Red Bubble. But I'll post all of them here. I sat on the pontoon for quite a while hoping to catch a pelican landing... with its feet skimming across the surface of the water. I wasn't in luck, dammit. They were either too far away, or the camera couldn't focus quickly enough, or I spotted them too late or whatever. Never mind, one of these days I'll get the perfect shot of a pelican landing... as well as a few of them taking off. They sort of run across the surface of the water in a rather comical fashion before they eventually get liftoff.

I also noticed two wild geese... at least that's what I assume they are.

Closer to town, near the sailing club and Sailor's Restaurant, I saw a rusting iron hulk. Actually, I saw it some years ago but it's since been covered by mangroves, hiding it from the river side view. I was walking along the bank in an area not frequented by most people. I'm not sure what it was, perhaps a trawler or a river cargo ship. It's about 60 or 70 feet long so it was quite a substantial boat in its day. Anyway, there it sits on the bank of the Manning, rusting away in its final resting place. I imagine the reason for leaving it there is because it serves as a breeding nursery for local fish, together with the mangroves. Click here for the photo album.


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