Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rottnest Island - Bathurst Lighthouse


Bathurst Lighthouse

The instinctive urge to deviate from the actions of a regular tourist and seek the paths less travelled, is how a travelling photographer captures sights and moments that would have otherwise stayed hidden from the whole world. With this however, comes free an element of risk of getting in to unforeseen troubles. Still, more often than not, it is worth it.

It took just over a half an hour for the ferry to arrive at the Island Jetty from the Fremantle docks. First thing I did after landing was to visit the information centre. I had to know what the main attractions on the island are and what the suggested tracks are for tourists before I could try out more adventurous ones. I grabbed a map and set out to hike.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rottnest Island - the land of quokka


Rottnest Island, viewed from The Bathurst Lighthouse

The first European explorers who stopped at this island in the Indian ocean located off the coast of Fremantle, observed that the place was infested with rats, so they named it "Rattenest", which in Dutch means "rat's nest"[1]. What they didn't know then was that there were hardly any rats living on the island, and the animal they mistook for a rat was, in fact, a marsupial called "quokka".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vineyards of Swan Valley



An English philosopher by the name Francis Bacon once said, ‘age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read’.

Well, I have been writing for quite some time now. Doesn’t that make me an old author, the best kind to read? No, not exactly? Never mind. Anyway, at least trust me, this old friend of yours, I’m going to write about something special today. And, what’s more, it’s about wine! (You can burn an old wood later while doing a barbecue, if you really want that as well)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Food for thought....

It is said that, 'a picture tells a thousand words'. Let's see if it true.

I have been posting lengthy articles lately, and I could not help wondering whether I bore you out reading them. So, let me entertain you with something slightly different. [i.e., if it is entertaining at all :)...]

I tried creating some art with a few pictures that I shot recently. In each of them, I wanted to bring out a meaning.

What kind of thoughts do they bring you? Do they have anything to do with the titles I have given? (I'm sorry if the titles confine your view, try not to let them)


Title: Abduction






Title: Who am I, what am I, what is 'I' ?






Title: War entertains... (Are you not entertained?)






Title: Powerless



Couple of last words;

My view on the photograph "Who am I, what am I, what is 'I' ?"

Have you watched the movie 'The Matrix'. In it, the world the people perceive as the reality is in fact an environment digitally created. They say 'the truth is stranger than fiction'. Think about it, 'The Matrix' movie is a fiction. So then, what about the truth?

My view on the photograph "War entertains... (Are you not entertained?)"

Have you watched the movie, 'The Gladiator'. Can you remember General Maximus asking the crowd, after swiftly dispatching another gladiator inside an arena, 'Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?'. What kind of things do you feel about war, especially when you have something to do with one of the sides fighting it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beauty and ugliness


With a peak that rises more than 2010m[1] above sea level, Namunukula mountain range is one of the well-known mountain ranges in Sri Lanka. It is the one you can make out in the above picture as the farthest layer of mountains.

Around four years back, I was able to capture this view of the landscape, which poses itself the prettiest during the last few minutes of the setting sun. Those were the days that I was first trying my hands on artistic photography. If you are wondering what made me post this old picture up here all of a sudden, well, there is a special reason. Sadly, that reason is not as pretty as the focal point of this picture. Thus, I will leave that story to the end.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

City hall


Brisbane city hall, originally uploaded by Sachira.

To be honest, there is not much of a story behind this picture. But, I just felt like sharing it with you. Who knows, you might like it even with out a good story =)

Anyway, to talk about a few unimportant things around it, I took this shot one evening while on my way home after visiting Mt. Coot-tha lookout. Mt. Coot-tha lookout is a place where you can to view the Brisbane city and the surrounding areas, all the way from Moreton bay to the mountains located near the Gold Coast. I think it is the best lookout around Brisbane and I am really grateful to one of my friends for telling me about it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mystic lake


Mystic Lake, originally uploaded by Sachira.

I took up a self imposed challenge to walk 22km, up to the beach and back in a day, just to prove myself that I am still young and fit. Much to my own relief, I was able to do it, thus, convincing myself that at least I am fit like I have been for the last five year or so, since this travel craze began.

My destination was Nudgee Beach. The same place I described in the previous article named 'Confusion'. I walked along the main roads, among the busy traffic, through the towns, into a residential area. The chaos was gone, temporarily. Here, I ran into a couple of warm-hearted gentlemen, who raised their hats and greeted, 'How ya goin mate...', in fine Aussie style.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Purple dusk


Purple dusk, originally uploaded by Sachira.

Recently, I had to change houses once more. This is my seventh home in a period of seven months. Every time when I move, I not only leave the house, the furniture and the neighborhood behind, but also the brand-new friends I make at each of those places. Nevertheless, I think, now I have got used to a nomadic life. After all, life itself is nomadic. (To be honest, I do miss the feeling of isolation in the barren, semi desert landscapes around Perth though)

For some extraordinary reason I always end up ‘camping’ close to a river. The Swan River I fell in love with back in Perth, Brisbane River in West End, and now slot in between the same river and the Moreton Bay. Rivers have an amazing ability to calm my mind down. Nothing feels more serene than going for a walk down by the river, at the sundown, listening to some soothing music. I do not always accompany my camera with me for such walks, as the urge to take photographs of the splendors created by the setting sun itself deprives me of my relaxation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nightingale

Is it really the poet that composes poems, or is it the subject? As per my experience on that particular night, it was music that composed this poem. It merely used my mind and brain to process language and my hand to write down the words on a piece of paper. Thus, the poem belongs to this music, not to me.

Nightingale

Helplessly, I have drowned,
in self intoxication
I cannot see a way,
to break free,
nor have the intent
Lost among defilements, am I?
A heart that feels so heavy,
sighing, seemingly unending,
In my reminiscence,
I hear it playing,
perpetually, consuming me
It is no more the reality,
that I live in


Last week in this blog I posted a picture that belongs to some one else, although I started the blog with the intention of sharing my photography work. Today I am going to break the traditions again and post a piece of music in my 'hereafter so called' photoblog.

All the boundaries we know are created by our consciousness. In reality, every thing is just a result of conversion of other things. Matter and energy, in the universe as we know it, creates everything, and matter is convertible to energy and vice-versa. So, in that sense what is the difference between a photograph and a piece of music. They both are art. The way we perceive them, and the way they generate a sensation in our minds is the same. After all, it's our mind that creates everything we see, hear, smell, feel and dream.

With that somewhat controversial justification I am taking this opportunity to share a piece of mesmeric music. This track made me feel exactly the same as in the above poem, on that dark, peaceful night.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Dawn


The Dawn, originally uploaded by Sithara.

This picture is the work of one of my closest friends, Sithara Dayarathna. As an appreciation of his wonderful photography, despite the limitations of his hardware, I decided to post this on my blog. This simple poem happened to get composed in my head while I was drowned in its memorizing beauty.

Fire, fire burning bright,
higher and higher into the sky
Fewer the days that start so bright,
and, here a child dreams to fly

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Confusion


Confusion, originally uploaded by Sachira.

The feeling of utter confusion of being amoung the network of roots in the mangroves gives a unique sensation. With that it is not hard to understand the role the stripes on zebras play on hungry eyes of a predator on African savanna. I stumbled upoun this mangrove swamp at the Nudgee Beach in Queensland, Australia. About 20km from Brisbane and facing the Moreton Bay.

Mangroves and the adjoining wetlands are important to retain the ecological balance of this area. Mangroves work as a filter of water streams that flows down to rivers, bays, or lagoons, while wetlands help controlling floods. These eco-systems also house an array of wild animals whose existence rely entirely on the preservation of these wetlands.

Apart from all that, mangroves provide shade, rest and a photo opportunity under its canopy to eco-tourists, as was the case with me that day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vacancies...


Vacancies..., originally uploaded by Sachira.
On one fine autumn day, I saw these three benches along the riverside walkway calling for passersby to sit and rest on them. Finally, I was able to listen to their silent call and quench their thirst for company for a brief time.The Picture was taken at the walkway along the Brisbane river in Teneriffe, Queensland, Australia.

I never had any idea about where Teneriffe is or what is there to see until a new bus service, called "City Glider", started operating from where I live, West End, to Teneriffe Jetty. A ride on the bus during the first couple of weeks was free and I decided check out what Teneriffe was like.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An evening on the rooftop


Every photo has a story behind it. This particular story, I enjoy recalling over and over, because it brings back a feeling I adore so much.

The roof of our house, back in Colombo, was a flat concrete surface. There was a stair case to access it as well, making it easier for anyone to climb up there. Back in those days, I had a habit of going up there in evenings and watching the sunset. Our house was two storied and located on bit of a higher ground. Since it was a residential area, there were not many taller structures around it either. That made it an ideal location to observe the heavens, day or night.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Didgeridoo player in Fremantle

Click PLAY to see the video
video

This guy is the best casual Didgeridoo player I came across while my stay in Western Australia. I met him in Fremantle while admiring these wonderful instruments at the store he was working in. Didgeridoo has always been an instrument of passion for me. Even before I came to Australia, I loved listening to its music.

My sister knew about this and one time she tried to buy one for me from Perth and bring it to Sri Lanka when she was visiting us. However, it did not really work out because of the bulkiness and the fragility of the item. Instead she bought me a CD of didgeridoo music by an artist named David Hudson, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So, ever since I landed in Australia and got a chance to wonder around the shops, especially the aboriginal art and souvenir stores, I enjoyed admiring didgeridoos. Not just through my eyes, but also through my ears. Most of these instruments are painted with aboriginal arts making them look even more fascinating. Although, some original didgeridoos were supposed to be just a plain hollow wood. Some warm-hearted guys, like the one in the video, went to the extent of putting on a short performance for me, even when they knew that I was not going buy one.

As far as what I came across, one can buy a decent didgeridoo starting from around AU$75. Most of them are intended for tourists and casual players. Probably the professionals would own ones that are of much higher value.

Didgeridoo is an Australian aboriginal instrument. It is said to have originated in northern part of the continent. Traditionally the instrument was made out of Eucalyptus wood and can measure 1 to 3 meters in length[1]. The end where the mouthpiece is, usually have a smaller diameter compared to the opposite end to create resonance of the sound.

When playing a didgeridoo, a technique called circular breathing is necessary, which for my experience is not that easy to pick up. The aboriginal people considers the instrument to be sacred and do not like women playing it. In addition to that, I have heard that the intense breathing method creates a lot of stress on stomach mussels, and could affect negatively on women's womb.

Well, I guess that is it for now. I can guarantee you that there will be another article on didgeridoo soon on this blog.

Reference:
[1]. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Didgeridoo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didgeridoo. Accessed on June 6, 2010.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The opposite bank


I took this picture of the Perth city center from the opposite bank of the Swan river. This is just one of many pictures I have captured of this city at night. I do not understand my own obsession on taking photos of Perth city at night. But, I think one reason must be that its a very pretty sight.

I think the authorities have given a careful thought to the aesthetics when planning the location of buildings in the city center. With tallest buildings concentrated towards the mid point, it adds an element of symmetry to the city skyline. On the other hand, Swan river always provides a reflective surface to enhance the beauty.

Place shaped as a spike


Mian-jin, meaning Place shaped like a spike, is the name given to Brisbane by local indigenous people. Brisbane is the capital city of Australian state, Queensland. With a population around 2 million, it's the third most populous city in Australia. The river flowing through the city, as you see in the picture, is Brisbane river. In fact, the city was named after this river[1].

I arrived in Brisbane in February 2010, but, still did not get a chance to explore the place much. It is a little strange compared to how I covered most parts around Perth in Western Australia within just few weeks from when I arrived there. Well, at lease those that were accessible by public transport.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Dirty Devil


Traditional 'Naagaraaksha'(meaning Cobra-devil) Mask used for Devil Dancing popular in Southern Sri Lanka.

Devil dancing is a form of white magic to cure diseases, specially those concerned with mental illnesses. A shaman is involved, who would use a series of dances to drum beats, to summon spirits or devils to get their help to heal the patient. Masks like this are essentially used in those dances along with costumes to make them look like devils.

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Mahaa Saeya


Ruwanweli Seya, also known as 'Rathnamaali Mahaa chetiya" or simply "Mahaa (meaning;great) Seya" is considered the most respected of all the stupas in Sri Lanka. Stupa is a Buddhist religious monument that would essentially contain Buddhist relics inside its core and a gem called "Chooda-maanikya" that repels lightning on top of its conical head.

The bigger stupa shown here is the aforementioned Ruwanweli seya while the smaller is one of the four attendant seyas around it. Ruwanweliseya stands 92m tall and has a circumference of 292m. Built in 3rd century B.C by the ruler then, King Dutugemunu.

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Pine forest


This planted pine forest was met on the way to the "Mini-worlds end" in the Knuckles Mountains, Sri Lanka. These man made forest are creating an environmental catastrophe in the central mountains of Sri Lanka because they don't live in harmony with the indigenous plant and animals in the area.

Pine leaves take a long time to decompose naturally, at least in this particular environment. Hence they create a thick layer of dead leaves on the ground beneath and inhibit the growth of any plants in the undergrowth, destroying the natural habitat of both plant species and animals.

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Pride of a lion!


This replica of the lion statue in Yaapahuwa is, in fact, an ornament of about 6 inches tall that I bought from a local store.

The original statue is found at the flanks of the steep stair case leading to the rock fortress in Yaapahuwa, once the capital of Sri Lanka, built in 13th century AD by Sinhalese kings. This statue clearly gives away the Chinese cultural influence at that time.

Check the image of the original statue;
digitreks.com/travels/srilanka07/yapahuwa/slides/SriLanka...

Drinks cart...


We had a 6-a-Side cricket tournament at Havelock Ground, organized by the company I work for. This, simply is the back of the drinks cart which provided everyone with refreshment. I liked the patterns created by various colored drink bottles (all from the same local manufacturer) under the shade of the orange roof canvas.
But, hope all these plastic bottles will be disposed in an environmentally friendly way, as they have already become a huge environmental issue throughout the country.

Dragon wings...


I caught this dragonfly sitting on a dry coconut leaf, on camera in my garden on a Sunday morning while wondering around the house. I'm not sure about the type species, nor knows any interesting facts about this fellow. May be someone of you might be able to tell us something about him!

The beauty within


This also was taken in my garden, in a morning. The flower, of which type, I do not know, was about to blossom. The capsule is just starting to uncover the stem within. and the seed like things were creating a breath taking pattern inside it. This flower is somewhat like an Anthurium, pinkish white in colour. The dark tender leaf of the same plant is in the foreground. i was lucky enough to get a pale natural light from behind to highlight the outlines.

Seegiriya Rock Fortress


Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures.

A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. (Reference;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigiriya)

Sleeping city...


Perth city center at night, view from King's Park. City becomes totally vacant by around 8pm in the night, with a little exception on Friday and Saturday nights. The water, which the city lights reflect on is the Swan River.

Rubik's Cubes


These Rubik's cubes were pendents of necklaces I came across at a jewelery shop while shopping with two of my friends at Belmont Shopping Forum in Perth.

Rubik Cube, according to Wikipedia, is 3D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974. A classic Rubik's cube has 6 faces each covered with 9 smaller squares of 6 colours. A pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be a solid colour.

Fallen


A fallen giant, I came across while taking a hike along the trails of
Rottenest Island during the summer. The heavy winds sweeping across the island must have been the most likely cause of its downfall.

Bottle Tree


A Boab tree at Kings Park, Perth.

Some individual Boab trees are 1500 years old and older, which makes them the oldest living beings in Australia, and puts them amongst the oldest in the world.

Aboriginals used the giants as shelter, food and medicine. For the white settlers they served as easily recognizable land marks and meeting points, and not to forget as impromptu prison cells. (Reference;www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/boab_tree.html)

Rottenest Lighthouse


This historical lighthouse, situated in the Northeast section of the Rottenest island, has been named Bathurst Lighthouse. It was constructed as a response to a series of shipping disasters in the area. The light house was activated for the first time in 1900. For tourists, it is a popular place on the island to do some photo shoots. The Small cove, with shallow water, at the foot of the staircase shown on the picture, is a good place to have a dip in the sea.