I’m sure that like me, for most of you reading this, the end of the year is a busy period. This year hasn’t been as bad for me, as I have had some travel to New Zealand to break up the usual end of year busy period.
But even with less things to consume our time and attention, it’s still easy to get caught up in being “busy”.
I learned a while ago that I am happiest and most productive if I make a point of not doing any one thing for too long. So each week I try to take a couple of days away from work and my various personal project to do something completely different.
I haven’t been doing much photography for my own pleasure recently, so I decided this week, that I would make the time to look for and photograph some beautiful and interesting landscapes and city scenes. I didn’t have my good camera with me though, but I did have my phone, so while exploring, I shot some images that will remind me to go back to these places in the future and shoot them again properly!
To the South of Adelaide in South Australia lies Kangaroo Island. Small and green, it looks out to the Southern Ocean. It may not seem like the ideal place for a holiday in the dying days of winter, but a client recently convinced me that it would be a fun place to visit. We spent four nights there, staying near the centre of the island, and each day we drove one way or another and explored Kangaroo Island’s often breathtaking beauty.
It was a truly beautiful place to visit and a fun trip.
You can get to Kangaroo Island by car, on a ferry, which makes a few trips per day, or (as we did), you can fly there from Adelaide if you are more pressed for time.
I didn’t think that we would be able to fill five days, but (if you have a car) you can comfortably see two sites per day – and there are easily more than ten places to go!
Two different light houses
An open range koala park
A general wildlife zoo (not my favourite as I don’t much like things in cages)
A raptor zoo
Tall sand dunes (which you can “sand board” on)
Lots of wilderness hiking
Seal, dolphin, and whale watching tours by boat
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but I think it gives you an idea of just how much there is to do on Kangaroo Island.
It’s a beautiful place and – if you are lucky like we were – is even great fun to visit during winter – but you definitely need to bring your warm clothing!
If you know me at all, then you know that I always travel with a camera (or three). And Kangaroo Island is a photographers dream. Here are just a handful of the photos that I took during the trip…
I got out for a walk today. Down to Sydney Harbour and along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk to Neilsen Park. It’s a long time since I have been down that way, so it was lovely, despite the initially cool weather to see the views over the Harbour and walk along the cliffs.
It was very much a “stop and smell the roses” kind of day today. So I took the camera along with me and made the most of the excursion…
The last few weeks have been pretty rough for the sex work community world wide. You may not be aware of this, but the US government has created new laws that make promoting sex work a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Sex work is still decriminalised here in NSW, Australia, but the ripple effect (more like a tidal wave) has effected sex worker even here through uncertainty, the closure of advertising platforms, and the creation of a climate of fear.
It’s been a stressful time watching friends and co-workers, both here and abroad losing their incomes, being persecuted, and generally having a very bad time.
It’s times like this that self care becomes important. And while you may not be in my industry, I think that the lessons still transfer. We all encounter stress in our lives and our jobs. And that stress can be very damaging if we don’t recognise it and give ourselves the time and space to recover from it.
I know that many of my clients come to see me for exactly that reason. You don’t need to visit a sex worker though – it can be as easy as getting out in the sunshine – which is what I did today, taking my camera with me. So here are a couple of photos of me from sunny Darlinghurst in Sydney for you.
Sydney has its problems, but distance from various spectacular natural attractions is not one of them.
I had some time this afternoon, so I decided to take my new camera – and drone out of Sydney and explore nature. My destination was the South Lawson waterfall circuit.
It’s an hour a little over an hour drive from my place in Olympic Park to Lawson, so it was a convenient destination that is reputed to have some fabulous scenery. And I have to say – it did not disappoint!
Don’t forget to click each image to see the full size version.
So, if you are contemplating a date with me and would like to take a walk in nature, then just let me know. There are so many special places to explore in Sydney and close by.
“The Camino de Santiago known in English as The Way of Saint James among other names, is a network of pilgrims’ ways serving pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups” – from Wikipedia
For those who follow my Twitter account (@JohnOhOfSydney) you will know that I was lucky to be booked by a client to join her for a few days walking The Camino de Santiago from the South of France down into Northern Spain earlier this year.
It was a fabulous trip – filled with beautiful scenery, physical challenge, and the solitude of wild places.
I am not a religious or spiritual person, but you don’t need to be to enjoy this trek and to grow as a person from the experience. I had the opportunity to practice my photography skills along the way and I can say that the scenery was truly stunning – like nothing that I have ever experienced. I love Australia and the Australian landscape, but I have always had a strong reaction to the deep and vivid greens of European lands and forest.
Something that surprised me was discovering that there was very little animal life – other than domestic animals – as we walked over the French Pyrenees Mountains. There was some bird life (including golden eagles which were most impressive), but I literally didn’t see a wild animal until we reached Pamplona – and that was a solitary red squirrel.
The food in southern France and Northern Spain was surprising to me. It was probably the biggest cultural difference from Australia. The local food was very limited in its variety. A lot of bread, cured meat, and cheese – and quiche! I love all of those things, but you can have too much of a good thing…
It emphasised to me how much Australia has benefited from migrant culture. We have such diversity in the food available to us on any given day on in any place. There will always be Asian food, European food, American food – the list goes on. And our fresh produce is, I think, second to none in the world, and that makes a huge difference to the quality of dishes.
The walking itself was serious and requires preparation. The first day from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles is approximately 27kms. It would be a long walk just on flat ground, but this part of the trip climbs 1,200 meters over the French Pyrenees and down another 500 meters into northern Spain. It’s a walk that many people split over two days rather than one, but we did the whole thing in one go. It was quite an achievement and a spectacular experience.
For anyone contemplating this walk, I would definitely recommend that you take your time. Don’t rush to get to your next destination. Walk slowly. Stop often. Look around. Take lots of photographs.
There is always another days walk ahead, but taking the time to really enjoy where you are (and will likely never be again!) is invaluable.
If you are contemplating a trip and would like a companion for your travels, then please seem my Travel Page for rates and conditions.
In the spirit of urban exploration yesterday I visited Parsley Bay, a place I never even knew existed until recently. It’s a quiet little harbour side bay that is home to beautiful waters – and water dragons and stingrays!).
It’s still a little cold in the water, but it made for a pleasant hour or two sitting in the shade admiring the view and photographing the scenery – you can click on any of these images to see the full sized version.
As the weather warms up (and the water too!) I will definitely have to come back for a swim in this delightful little spot – and hopefully see some stingrays!