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!
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…
With Michael’s birthday last Tuesday, and him busy at an evening class (learning Blues Harmonica), we decided to celebrate yesterday (Good Friday) by going to Docklands for lunch.
It’s hard to imagine how – after the heatwave that has just finished – we could want to be inside to be warm and out of the wind, but it was so chilly and gusty down by the water, that that was exactly what we wanted. Fortunately, Mecca Bah – the restaurant of choice – was open and able to accommodate us. They seated us by the window overlooking the harbour, and proceeded to woo us with their Middle Eastern inspired menu and decor.
The food was very good, with the Spicy Lamb and Pinenut Boureks a favourite, but the real highlight of the day was our waiter. His memory was phenomenal and his attention to detail, exemplary, making the meal a real treat. It is nice to see that really good service is still around; I’m only sorry I didn’t ask his name so that I could give him a better plug, here.
The other reason for choosing Docklands for the celebration, was to look at some of the sculptures that have been installed along the waterfront as part of the Contempora Sculpture Award & Festival of Public Arts.
As with any art, the appeal of sculpture is subjective. I only saw a couple of pieces that I liked, one of which is shown below, but regardless of whether they were to my personal taste or not, they did add a bit of interest to the boardwalk that is NewQuay Promenade.
Docklands itself was a let-down. It is a while since I’ve been down there, and there has been massive development in that time, but it seems a soulless place overall. The proliferation of high-rise apartment buildings and the dearth of greenery made it seem cold and sterile, and definitely not somewhere I would like to spend a lot of time. Still – restaurants like the Mecca Bah, and the service they provide, will ensure that we pop past occasionally.
We were lucky enough to be given tickets to see the Choir of Hard Knocks on Saturday night at Vodafone Arena. The concert – which was very enjoyable – finished much later than expected, so that when we were leaving our crowd mingled with that from the My Chemical Romance concert at Rod Laver Arena, making for an interesting and fun walk across the bridge to the MCG.
I find it really frustrating to be out anywhere without my camera – especially when the views are as spectacular as those of the city were. The beauty and limitations of mobile phone cameras were demonstrated to me again, in that I was able to get some pictures of the city skyline, and the footbridge between the MCG and Vodafone/Rod Laver arenas, etc., but wasn’t really able to exercise any control over exposure, other than by turning the flash off.
It has been a really interesting exercise going back to using what amounts to a basic point-and-shoot camera, after many years of using SLRs. It really pares down the process to the key elements of subject and composition, and has made me really think about what I’m doing as I’m taking a picture. And, while the images are not of sufficient quality (in terms of file size) to be enlarged much beyond a 10 x 15cm print, I’ve been really happy with some of them. I hope you’re enjoying the process, too.