Archive for June, 2008

Whales

June 30, 2008

The weather was well behaved during the whole weekend and we were therefore lucky to get a parking spot at the end of the Cape Solander drive in the Botany Bay national park in Kurnell. The perfect whale watching day – absolutely flat sea, excellent weather. The rock platforms close to the parking lot and around the whale watching station were highly populated. Long forgotten binoculars had been taken out of the drawers and were brought along after tapping off the dust. (more…)

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The Leap (#268, 20.7 m, 54′)

June 30, 2008

The water was dead flat at the leap in Kurnell last Saturday, excellent conditions for a drift dive to the Steps. Initially we had thought of giving Cape Solander a try (I have not been there myself yet, but definitely keen to change that!), but apparently the road to the pick nick area has been blocked by large boulders recently.
We jumped in from the lower ledge at the leap, and on the surface Diver at the LeapI finally got my camera ready, turned on the strobe…well, tried to. With still more or less closed eyes I had installed the batteries while having breakfast, and for once I did not check if everything worked properly. One of the batteries was installed upside down, and instead of a nice rig I found myself carrying a considerable rig to be used with natural light only. (more…)

Gordon Ramsay’s recipes at the Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney

June 27, 2008

I mentioned the show of Gordon Ramsay at the Good Food and Wine Show last weekend only briefly. The three course dinner he cooked in 30 minutes looked just too tasty as not to try it, and I gave it a go yesterday night. My recipes are certainly not exactly the same as I was working from memory. I can tell you though that the soup was marvelous, and so was the lamb. The pecorino in the salad gives this extra touch, and the mingled tastes of the balsamic sauce, the lemon, the onion etc go really well together. D’Arenbergs Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 200X went well with the dish and added its part to a great dinner. The desert is awaiting judgment, we had eaten enough after the main and decided to postpone it to the weekend. I nevertheless add the recipe as I remember it, but beware, I did not try it yet…with these ingredients not much can go wrong though.
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Clovelly Pool night dive (#267, 6.7m, 41′)

June 25, 2008

Southerly swell… we had hoped to prove the forecast wrong, but upon arrival at the car park at Gordon’s Bay we knew that this had been mere hope. The waves came in strongly from the south, splashing several meters high in the air when braking onto the rocks. Clearly an effect of the last few windy days. We decided to Octopusjump in the Clovelly pool on the other side of the car park. The opening to the ocean is facing SE, but the separating wall was reaching almost the surface at low tide and broke the waves down considerably. It still looked more like surfing conditions than being suited for diving, but we were keen and decided to jump in. The entry from the stairs was a bit tricky due to the waves and the low tide. (more…)

Seahorses at Lilli Pilli again… (#266, 5.8 m, 63′)

June 23, 2008

And yet another dive with the seahorses at Lilli Pilli… The forecast looked scary with wind warnings for the whole NSW coast and Sydney closed waters and predicted surge of 2-3 meters. I only learned today that the Leap had been diveable on Saturday – bugger… This piece of information was quite surprising for me as there was considerable surge off the beach in Cronulla already at 8 am on Saturday. In any case we decided to head off to Lilli Pilli and say hello to our seahorse friends. Look deep in my eyes...
The conditions were similar to last week – fairly good visibility, but lots of particles in the water. I was quite positive that this time I was able to get the seahorses in focus since I knew now that the macro focus setting is not saved in manual mode when the camera is turned off.
We stayed another hour around the net in Lilli Pilli baths. It took me around ten minutes to find a seahorse this time, at the end of the dive I had counted seven, and spent a lot of time close to three of them annoying them with the strobe. The main difficulty for me was to place the strobe correctly to avoid backscattering but still being able to light the seahorses which were usually either just in the net or dangling out on the backside of it. (more…)

Good Food and Wine Show, Sydney exhibition center

June 23, 2008

I had been looking forward to the good food and wine festival in the exhibition centre in Sydney for more than a year, since I found out after my visit of the same event in Melbourne last year that there is also an instance in Sydney. Good food, wine, can it get any better?
I must admit that this year skipped the food almost entirely and fully concentrated on the wine. Wineries from all the important wine regions of this country were offering tastings of their products. I tasted a considerable number of red wines and later on the tasting became more of a wine drinking session, which was only interrupted by half an hour of Gordon Ramsey in the Diners Club theatre. Rather atypically not more than a few swear words passed his lips. I enjoyed the short show, and the prepared lamb on salad bed with soup and the desert prepared from old brioche, egg and passion fruit looked very appealing – not only because I was quite hungry at that stage. (more…)

Burning sky

June 19, 2008


Burning sky, originally uploaded by käptncook.

Another morning of soccer… the Russians produced an impressive firework against Sweden which ended with a 2-0 victory and the qualification for the quarter finals against the Netherlands. The Russians were only topped by the firework happening outside of my window. I had been about to leave for work just before 7am when I saw the sun shining through the clouds and producing wonderful colours on the sky. I took a few shots from my balcony…
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A windy morning – a delayed sunrise

June 15, 2008

After watching the Netherlands trashing France I decided to go out and enjoy the sunrise equiped with my camera – with the intention to have a look at the conditions for the upcoming dive two hours later. There was not much of a sunrise as all light was blocked by a thick cloud. I started playing around with the camera and taking pictures of the wild water – there was indeed not much hope for a dive somewhere along the coast!
Suddenly there were a few beams of sunlight braking through the thick layer of clouds, a cone only lighting up the refinery out in Kurnell. A fantastic moment with the wild waves in the foreground. I tried to capture it, even though the G9 and any other compact camera is not at its best in low light conditions.



Nature meets mankind, originally uploaded by käptncook.

Lilli Pilli (#265, 6.7 m, 66′) – going manual…

June 15, 2008

The diving conditions were better than last week in terms of visibility, but the strong SE winds incurring wind warnings along the whole coast of NSW and also for the bays around Syndey prevented the entry at many of the dive sites. We decided to go to Lilli Pilli baths and fiddle around a bit with camera and strobe settings. That is, for macro shots. Seahorses.
seahorse at Lilli PilliI am on my way of getting a feeling for manual settings on the camera as well as on the Inon Z-240 strobe I purchased recently. I decided to start shooting in manual mode because I want to have a better control of the final picture in terms of foreground AND background exposure and still be able to decide on the DOF myself. Using the G9 in manual mode automatically defines that the Inon Z-240 also needs to be used in manual mode, because the camera doesn’t emit a preflash. There would also be the option of using the External Auto setting of the strobe – the dial on the back of the strobe needs to match the aperture setting of the camera, and the strobe needs to be pointed straight at the object in front of the lens. (more…)

Queen’s birthday long weekend

June 9, 2008

Given the miserable diving conditions and the not very pleasant weather there was not too much to do this weekend. I took the picture of Port Botany Bay below from my balcony this morning at 8. And went back to bed for half an hour after having seen how the weather was like…Port Botany Bay in rainy weather But ok, the weather on Saturday had been a bit better, and I went for a bike ride out to Kurnell. On the map I saw that there is another wildlife reserve just before reaching Kurnell, the Towra Point nature reserve. I thought of checking it out on the way, as it has water on its east side – this would allow to see and take pictures of the sunset with water in the foreground… Soon after cycling into Towra Point road I saw the official NPWS sign – no cycling, and I am not sure if entry to the reserve was even only allowed with a permit.Towra Point reserve - the road is becoming a lake I stepped off my bike and walked along the road. The road became more of a lake soon though – not a surprised after the rain during the last few days, this part of the reserve was marked “barrier swamp”. I did not attempt to cross this barrier but took a few pictures and turned around. I definitely want to check with the NPWS if there is a possibility to visit this reserve – it is so nicely calm out there, and wild indeed considering that it is just a few minutes away from the road! (more…)