Tag Archives: Birrarung Marr

Canon SX110IS and great kids make for a happy New Year

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Where ever you are – Happy New Year to you (albeit a little late).

I hope you had a good (and safe) time, and that 2009 brings you much happiness and satisfaction.

We (M & I) spent New Year’s Eve on the grassy bank bordering Birrarung Marr, watching the fireworks with Meg and five of her friends.

We thought we were brave taking six fourteen and fifteen year-old girls into town, where the crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but they were a real delight – all skipping along arm-in-arm and having a lovely time. The worst problem we had was keeping up with them as they practically ran through the crowd!

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These (obviously hand-held) photos were taken with my Christmas present – a Canon SX110IS compact. I’m in the process of putting it through it’s paces, and must say that I am impressed so far. A (largish) pocket-sized camera with the equivalent of a 36 – 360mm lens and everything from fully auto to fully manual control is hard to beat, and Canon’s menus are consistently easy to navigate, making it easy to take advantage of its many features. I think it performed really well under difficult circumstances – I mean, who would try to take photos of fireworks without a tripod?!

Just wait til you see the photos of the hippos at Werribee Open Range zoo…

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The Audreys at the Dream Festival

The audience watching The Audreys perform

One of the things I did while I was absent from the blog, was attend the Dream Festival held in Birrarung Marr in early October.

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It was a beautiful day and The Audreys – one of my favourite bands – were playing. I’d never seen them live before, and they did not disappoint: they were every bit as good live as they are on their albums. Combined with the atmosphere you get from seeing a band on stage, their performance was a real treat.

The Audreys on stage, with Taasha playing the melodica

Taasha’s vocals were at their delicate best, and I got to see her playing both the melodica and the ukulele as they performed a mixture of songs from both albums. (If you’ve read Blogday before, you’ll know how much I love the ukulele and will understand why I was so excited about her playing one.) For me the highlight of the show was Banjo & Violin . The first verse applies to me so well, with my foray into country music over the last couple of years, that it makes me laugh.

Taasha Coates from The Audreys, stands at a microphone singing

For me, they sum up what I love in music at the moment – they’re local (as in Australian); their music sits across a number of styles that I love (folk, country, rock and pop), and they play a great range of instruments: ukulele, banjo, double bass, violin. Aaah – heaven!

Looking down the Yarra River towards Princes Bridge

As an added bonus, I caught up with someone I hadn’t seen in 22 years – one of my best friends from my university days. She was there listening to music and taking photos as well. I smiled at her as she walked towards me through the crowd, recognising that she was a kindred spirit (with the camera and everything), only to then recognise who it was that I was smiling at! The most bizarre thing of all is that we both have daughters named Megan!

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Bells and whistles

Wheel and bellsYesterday, when I finished my editing class in town, I decided to walk along the Yarra river to Jolimont station instead of catching the train at Flinders Street, as I usually would.  I’ve only done the full walk along Birrarung Marr once before, and it has been a revelation both times.The ferris wheel is the most obvious landmark – as in physically obvious – though not the most notable attraction, in my opinion. The image at left shows a view from the footbridge behind the wheel.  (You can see that a storm was just about to break, and the clouds provided a really dramatic backdrop and muted the gaudy colours of the wheel.)

My favourite discovery – although is has apparently been in place since 2002 – was the Federation Bells installation.  I saw what I thought was a really interesting-looking sculpture, and then was delighted and amazed when the bells started ringing.  It turned out that I had arrived, by chance, at the start of one of daily ‘performances’. I must have looked like a dill,  standing there with my mouth open, but it was absolutely entrancing.

Federation bellsThis image shows the Federation Bells, with the ferris wheel as a backdrop.

The only part of the area I dislike is when you go over the footbridge towards the MCG and Rod Laver arena. Speakers set into the sides of the bridge play snippets of songs in Language, with each new section slightly overlapping the last, so that the resultant soundscape can be quite unsettling – at least I found it so.  Personally, I would much rather hear something in its entirety as I walk the length of the bridge.  I don’t really think the format does the music justice, either, but that is just my opinion.

Overall, I had a fabulous walk. Although windy and – eventually – wet, I got a great view of the Yarra; saw what appeared to be an Indian bridal party having photographs taken (though it may have been a commercial photo shoot – who knows), and found the Federation Bells. I also got some photos I am quite pleased with – I think I’ve got the hang of my new phone camera, now.

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