60kilometres or 1 hour from Cairns Queensland lie 2 lakes formed volcanically in the Crater Lakes National Park. The Crater lakes National park consists of 2 sections Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine.
They are both clear blue crater lakes encompassed by tall rainforest. They both have walking trails. Lake Barrine is the only one offering rainforest boat tours and giant Bull Kauri trees.
Lake Barrine also features a tea house with restaurant facilities. When I was there, I enjoyed the barramundi fish with macadamia, delicious. The Boat tour was very interesting and full of information. The area is tranquil and quiet.
Lake Eacham however has picnic facilities and the only one offering swimming facilities, it is located 8 kilometres further up the Gillies Range.
The pristine blue lake can be viewed from the air to show its true form. Lake Barrine (above) is the largest of the 2 lakes.
The vastness of the lake is also seen
from the air. It appears to be in the middle of nowhere. The rainforest
surround is also apparent.
When I think of the Crater lakes, I wonder just how long ago these Crater lakes were active volcanoes. We have so many beautiful and varied attributes in this wonderful country of ours, how many are yet to be discovered? For more images of the crater lakes and Cairns visit www.owenwilson.net.au
This image was taken from a helicopter, I had the opportunity to take a flight back to the mainland from the outer reef pontoon. The helicopter only accommodates 3 passengers. The flight takes 1hour back to Hamilton Island. I took some amazing images of the reef and this, plus others of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. The reef is just magic from the air. Whitehaven beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Australia. You can really only appreciate this from the air. A tip for the buddy photographers out there, you need to time your photography for approximately 1½ hours either side of the change of tides. Otherwise you will get the water stained with tannin (brownish in colour) from the trees (this is not pollution it’s just nature at work) and this will ruin your shot. Also you will get more of the ripple of the pristine white sand during the in between tides, where if it is high tide you won’t see that.
All the different shades of blue and the
browns and orange of the coral, it is hard to get one’s head around the sheer
beauty nature has provided. Snorkelling is a popular activity on the reef,
Cruise Whitsunday is the company to contact for a unique trip out to the reef.
The water is pristine, the coral fabulous and multitudes of little fish to see
such as the ones in this next image.
All the amazing formations of the Coral Fish – Owen Wilson Photography, who would have though a perfectly shaped Heart made by nature.
Cruise Whitsunday is the boat company
that will take you to the outer reef, where there is a pontoon for day visits,
snorkelling and diving, underwater observatory to view the fish and coral. Also
there is a boat with a glass bottom to view the corals and fish. You have the
option to stay overnight on the pontoon if you wish. There is a 10-minuet joy
flight by Helicopter available to view Heart reef from the air.
The Whitsundays is a group of 74 Islands
with only 8 Inhabited the other66 are protected by National Parks. Hamilton
Island is the most popular of the habited islands, it is a car free island
skirted by coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.
By air you can see the inhabited area
compared to the bushland area, which is only accessible by walking trails.
Travel on the island is by golf cart. Travel to and from the Island is either
by air as Hamilton is equipped with and airstrip, or by sea.
There is a beautiful marina located on the West side of the island. All in all, a very nice Island to visit.
The Whitsundays are truly amazing, if
you get the chance don’t hesitate GO. For more of these wonderful images visit www.owenwilson.net.au
Cairns is a tropical paradise, with it’s many attractions to cater to all likes. These attractions encompass the city of Cairns, ranging from water activities like snorkelling on the reef. You can take any number of boats out on day trips to explore the reef by snorkelling or diving or just for a boat trip out to the Barrier Reef. The outer Reef is particularly beautiful.
Marlin Marina is the main departure site for these activities. This image was taken on a still night with the Shangri la hotel prominently featured. There a plenty of vantage points for photographers to take incredible shots any time of the day or night. I love Cairns it’s one of my favourite spots to visit.
Millaa Millaa falls is one of my choice spots to photograph, here I was fortunate enough to capture the Ulysses butterfly in my shot, they frequent this location. They are a large butterfly and vivid in colour. The Falls no longer look quite this picturesque as they have been opened up for tourist buses, and swimming is now permitted in the falls. A lot of the foliage no longer exists, and a viewing platform has been added.
5sec exposure, f22 aperture, 100ISO, 24-70mm lens on a Nikon D700 using a polarising filter. Millaa Milla falls taken in June 2010. Lush green and red foliage, good water flow over the falls.
A great swimming spot right in the heart of Cairns is the Esplanade lagoon, clean water and large enough to have your own space. This is a central meeting place for many visitors. It presents itself in many a photograph and is very vast in it’s appearance. For instance, at twilight it has a uniquely crimson to purple glow and when there is a spectacular sunset it will have a wonderful warm glow. There a numerous apartment and hotels to accommodate the visitors of Cairns. From the air you see a totally new aspect of the lagoon as seen here in the image below.
The difference of the water colour is remarkable. As there are no sand beaches the water and its banks are muddy. Most people think the beaches are this lovely blue with pristine sands but it’s not so. Further to the north you will find such beaches.
This is a real passion of mine, it is
not for everyone, it takes a lot of patience and time.
Most people love birds with all their beauty and charm, but do they have the patience it takes to capture them in their native habitat? For instance, the Azure king fisher, it took me several days, standing in waist deep water to capture this little fellow. The nest is in a bank only a meter away, I set up a bird hide in the creek and stood waiting. He only returned once every 30 mins or so sometimes longer. He was very cautious and seem to be look right at me. When I’d put my eye up to the viewer he noticed and shied away, the mirror on the camera when I fired would also frighten him. So, I decided to put the mirror up ready to fire and captured this shot, but only after he was used to me being there for a day, maybe a day and a half. They love to eat tiny fish and insect larvae. Can you see the fish fry in his beak?
The smaller birds are the most difficult to capture, like these fairy wrens, or blue wrens as we like to call them. There are plenty to see in the garden, but they don’t stay still for long. These two were attacking the mirror on my car and admiring themselves in it too. So I set up a branch just a bit away from the car and they liked to go there and rest between visits back and forth to the mirror. So I was able to set up my hide again and capture them. I probably took about 30-40 shots to get this one though.
There would be one or the other looking away with it’s back to me. This is what I mean by patience. You also need to be observant, and watch to see where birds are going, do they have something in their beak? Like nesting material or food for say their chicks. I located this little guy when I was grading a road (before I became a full-time photographer). This is a mistletoe bird, I would watch him whilst going about my job and finally I located its nest hanging above the road a few meters away. I came back the following day being a weekend, set up my hide on top of my four-wheel drive and watched and waited, it was the next day before I captured this shot of the male feeding its young.
Very vivid in color and the chicks look very hungry. Again, this is one shot of about 50 shots I took over the day. Sometimes there would be shade over the nest, other times the sun would be covered by cloud. But as you can see its worth it in the end. Plovers are birds that are hard to spot in the grass, unless they are trying to distract you from finding their nest with a clutch of eggs in. They have a very spars nest with very little to keep the eggs safe. I suppose that is why they are so aggressive when you venture into their nest site. This Spurwing plover or Masked lapwing, so called because of the spur they have on their wing which they will use to defend their nest.
And sometimes your just lucky, when your out shooting scenery and come across a bird like this cassowary. I was in the Daintree taking some shots of the rain-forest and creek, when I happened upon this fellow, he was probably also enjoying his walk in the rainforest. This is a bird you don’t want to be too close to. So you just take your shots and hurry away out of site.
All these shots apart from the Cassowary are captured on medium format transparency film using a Mamiya RB67 camera. This camera is really unsuited to wildlife photography as it is big and bulky (like holding on to a house brick) it is more suited to studio photography, but it was a great landscape photographers’ camera, for its exceptional quality and detail when blowing up your images. 250mm prime lens and a number 1 extension tube was used on the lens, this allowed for getting in close to the smaller birds, I’m talking about a metre off the bird. Without the extension tube the 250mm lens would only focus down to about 2metres from the bird, the bird would be very small in the picture. This is for all you camera buffs and budding wildlife photographers. I am talking about the mid 1980s. 35mm digital cameras are so much faster these days without the problem of a large camera.
There are more of these wonderful shots,
a large variety of birds to view on my website www.owenwilson.net.au I hope you
enjoyed this blog and visit my site to see more. You will find them in the
category wildlife under birds. Remember patience and observation are the keys
to finding and capturing great bird shots.
On Christmas Eve I decided to photograph the 7th annual Cresent Head Santa Surf. I was overwhelmed by the number of participants. It was so spectacular with all the red and white in the water. From children to adults of all ages, even dogs were dressed in their red and white Christmas outfits.
The parade started 5oo meters above the bridge on Killick Creek and the participants paddle to the ocean
Some chose to paddle in canoes, on surf boards, while others used pool noodles or anything, they had available.
Boards of all shapes and sizes to go with the shape and size of the participant.
where some continued on to surf and others returned to the beach to party on. A lot of fun was had by all. Kempsey Cresent Head Surf life saving club should be congratulated for all the effort put in to make this event such a success.
Cresent Head Beach is one of the most popular beaches for surfing and a great holiday destination on the Mid North Coast NSW.
The Life guards were on duty to make sure everyone was safe.
The dogs enjoyed the event as much as the people. I snapped this photo while the surfers were out on their boards and this little guy was happy to pose for me.
This was an enjoyable event for me also. Well worth the visit to Cresent Head, so don’t miss next year’s event 24th December. To view more images of this event please visit www.owenwilson.net.au