Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

"Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost
At such a cost"
"There's no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams 
And you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?"
from Ruby Tuesday Jagger/Richard(s)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Morning Gunk

"Early morning rise
Got my guts in my eyes
Got my soul on fire
All right"
from Radio Birdman Monday Morning Gunk

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

The answers are small

The answers are small.
You have to look hard.
Have a great weekend, searching.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wish me luck

Here's my entry in a local (non-surfing) photo contest. Prize is $10K. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last Saturday

Extract from my journal or rather notebook with random ramblings, doodles and scribblings:
Saturday 21 August 2010
I’m sitting in the sun out on our back deck looking north at the little creek that flows down to the sea. It’s got a good bit of water flushing out the weeds after a few days of bleak, cold rain. I’m reading a big heavy book called Studio -  Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity and trying to recover from a nasty throat, ear, nose, sinus bug thing. 
Board courtesy "H"'and Vita
After reading a post in the Fotos in Noosa website earlier today, I’ve decided to revisit this book and what I call “the curse of creativity” – the trials and tribulations of being creative despite the costs in time, money, relationships, missed opportunities for other activity and worst of all creative blocks. This big glossy coffee table book covers it all by visiting 20 painters from all over the country showing their studios, how they start a project and deal with creative blocks. In the introduction, John McDonald suggests:
“There are as many ways too get started as there are paintings. In most cases, the primary need is to defile that daunting expanse of blank canvas. One applies a backing colour, scribbles or daubs something almost at random – simply to destroy that whiteness which presents itself as more perfect than anything the artist may choose to paint on it.”
Studio -  Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity
The winter sun on my sorry bones feels good - not too hot and nourishing. My wife brings out yet more medicine – my body wants caffeine but my nose votes for medicine. I look up at the foul looking measuring cup that even my weakened senses can smell and I smile. Out of the periphery of my vision I spot a tree branch that wasn’t there yesterday. In fact it’s an owl-like bird called a Tawny Frogmouth. In 16 years this makes only the second sighting of this species. “A good omen, I hope,” she says as I swig down the concoction that resembles mud diluted with poisonous berries.
All over Australia right now, adults are strolling into electoral booths and running the gauntlet of zealous folk keen to jam political manifestos or "How to Vote" cards into our hands. But not us. Vote early and vote often, some wag will say somewhere in the country. Elsewhere somebody will retell the scandal where dead people were registered to vote and resulted in some electors voting often. No, we are on holidays, so we organised postal votes. And what a chore voting was trying to deliniate between the two major parties and the other 45 aspirants for our Senate – One Australia, One Nation, Family First, Socialist Alliance, a Sex Party and two fishing parties besides all of the random independents. Sadly, the old Party to Expose the Petrov Conspiracy and the Nigel Free Marijuana Party seem to have given the election game away. No doubt retired or in rehab. Maybe the visit from the Tawny Frogmouth is an omen that the Green Party will get more votes than usual in our National Election today?
I leave my art book and the sunshine and chase down a tripod and the biggest lens I own. The house is cold and dark. I fire off a few photos of our feathered visitor. The light is too contrasty on this beautiful still cloudless winter day so I add flash. The session gets into its own rhythm and momentum and eventually I stop. I'm only after one or two keepers, but I have shot 39 photos. My large format photography mates would be horrified, but this isn’t film, that hard. cruel and expensive medium. I return to my art book and chew over the thoughts of Robin Wallace-Crabbe:
“I’ll pick up something and begin in an empty-headed way. If I over-rehearse a series of possibilities they tend to become rather shallow or silly. On the other hand once I’ve got started on a series of paintings the imaginings I take into the studio from outside, often become more complete and plausible – and makeable.”
Studio -  Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity
A butcher bird swoops onto the old wooden railing, oblivious to the fact that I have painted it 11 times before The Aesthete was happy with the hue (Larkspur Blue, I recall). The bird freaks me out a little – or is that the medicine kicking in? I have mates who believe that when they die they will come back as a butcher bird or a crow or something else. Maybe the Tawny Frogmouth is my old Dad or one of my departed brine brothers. I momentarily contemplate whether I should ring my Mum and ask her about this, after all she had a pet magpie that could talk. No, I think my Dad said he wanted to come back as a sea eagle. No phone call.
The small chinese wind chime that Richard and Suzy gave us before they left the neighbourhood tinkles while a water dragon lizard chases something across the tin roof above us. Most of the old crew have left the neighbourhood for bigger mortgages in better houses on greener pastures. Apart from the guy across the road who works in the mines, we are the street’s longest residents. As I ponder this, a newish green Ford Falcon pulls up in the street below and a young bloke gets out and wanders down to the dirty great Moreton Bay fig beside our property and relieves himself. He doesn’t know that there’s 400mm of lens less that 30 meters away.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And two begat three

It's not uncommon these days to see all manner of craft in the water at the same time. Even though the "goat boater" (wave ski) harks back to the analogue wooden era, the SUP clearly places this pic in the 21st century.
Dating the next picture is relatively easy using the board fins only as a guide. During the transition from twin fins to the three finned thruster the latter's centre fin was originally a big old single fin stuck in the middle of a typical twinnie set up. In 1981 big Simon Anderson won the Bells Contest (with 15 foot sets), the Coke Contest and the Pipe Masters on thruster boards that he shaped himself. It would be a while before two fins re-entered the design space.
The twinnie on the bottom left was a Mark Richards and the one on the right was my Byrne Brothers channel bottom which I liked so much that I made sure my first thruster was a channel bottom as well! Glassed in fins all round in those days. Those stretchy "octopus" straps tying the boards down were notorious for attacking you if you didn't hook them in correctly. South Ballina wall surf check, Oz summer 1981-2.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mackerel Sky

"Mackerel sky. Mackerel sky.
Never all wet. Never all dry"
Was what the old salts would say when I was a kid when we had dawns like this.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I'm out of the water but not out of the woods yet with this crazy head, nose, ear bug.
 My own Stoke-o-meter was down in the red zone yesterday. And today my focus is more like this.
But at least the sun is out so I can find a warm spot to cough and sneeze and watch the action.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bleak n Roll

Absolutely bleak, grey, wet and cold here today as I do battle with a head cold, sore throat, a nose that wants to run away and a dizzy blocked ear thing. If you surf though or you shoot monochrome (or both) then these days are gold! Even light for a decent range of tones. A gentle drizzle to glass off the waves and keep down the crowds.

Unidentified charger at Hippies' on a cold overcast day last week. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One for Utah

I'm always on the look out for interesting graffitti - by which I mean something that I respond to emotionally or intellectually (depending on the way it's lit and how much caffein is in my system). I don't normally shoot or really understand the point of the meaningless scribble tag thing that I'll see on bus seats, fences, street signs and old derelict buildings like this one in the heart of BrineVegas, our capital city. As a surfing blogger I do accept that we all need avenues for expression and thrills.
I have never done graffitti. Part of my interest in it stems from my observations of the radically changing environment from Byron Bay to Noosa as old trees, properties and buildings that housed a million memories are torn down to be replaced by sleek, rendered cubes, carbon munching highways and high density dwelling towers. Shooting some of this stuff is my small attempt at keeping the memory alive.

I saw this magnificent wall of thoughts, styles and opinions while wandering from one formal (expensive) art gallery to the next and had to capture the quote from Utah Phillip's an American Christian Anarchist, folk singer.
"The earth is not dying.
It is being killed
And those that are killing it
Have names and addresses."
As we stroll into the ballot boxes on Saturday to cast our votes for the Australian Senate and the Lower House (ie the leader of the country), the area of social justice seems to have fallen off the radar of the two parties that have the monopoly on power here. We used to pride ourselves on giving everybody a "fair go". I pray that the election campaign is not symptomatic of a creeping malaise of greed and selfishness.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Sad news yesterday from Western Australia with another shark attack fatality. The Brine Team's thoughts and prayers are with the family and the wider WA surfing community. Rest in peace.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In search of slide

Yesterday became a dawn mission to find a small slider before the receding swell and a strengthening offshore wind turned our part of the Pacific into a lake. Just before dawn the thermometer in the car registered an outside temperature of 6 degrees Celsius, the coldest I have ever seen it go.
Luckily, I had plenty of search worthy music on the iPod, a good heater in the car and a long board on board.
Eventually I caught up with a few old friends who had found a nice tidal spot in between an island and the mainland where the incoming tide was funnelling in a few peelers. And after the hell swell this week, there was nobody else out!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Going Vertical

Am reading former Tracks editor Phil Jarratt's entertaining and informative story of the global surf industry Salts and Suits and chanced upon this anecdote from Bob McTavish from last year when he was making the movie Going Vertical:
"I'd had a dream not long after the stowaway voyage to Hawaii and in it I was riding a shorter wider surfboard and I was turning it straight up the face of the wave and then off the top and back down to the bottom."
" I'd broken the straight line and was going vertical on the face of the wave, but I knew that there was no surfboard known to man that would do that. That became my passion - to design a board that would go vertical - and in early 1967, I knew I was getting close."
Thanks Phil and Bob and Mr Brewer and Mr Greenough, Mr Simmons and all of the other pioneers whose thoughts and visions we reap today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back in the USSR

The carnival of chaos has rolled back into Brinetopia on the tail of a one day wind, rain, squall swell.
If you were former world champion tennis player and surfer Pat Rafter, this is what you would have seen from your balcony around mid-day yesterday. I'm so grateful there are no private beaches around here. Any punter can rock up and have a dig. Of course you would have needed plenty of talent like this local fella.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Leave Pass

I have a leave pass for a few days so am outta here and maybe out of range on surfari in Kabi Kabi country.
The freezing winds of the last couple of days have abated enough to let a few briney walls rock and roll my ride.

This guy is running the place while I'm away, so don't expect any fancy blogness.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Whale Song

The whaling stations on Moreton Island and Byron Bay have been closed for a few decades. Humpback whales seem to be more prevalent. Whale watching is very popular around here at this time of the year as pods migrate to give birth in the warm quiet waters near Fraser Island. 
The first time I saw them up close was from an old prawn trawler that had been converted for tourists. Yesterday a newly born calf was seen near the Gold Coast by one group of excited watchers. Some people will sail whatever craft they can find to get up close to these wonderful cetaceans. 
Let's only hunt them in folk tunes like The Whale Song by Terry Fielding and Fred Dyer:
"So bend your backs and row me lads and take me to me whale.
Tonight we'll sing and dance and tomorrow we will sail.
We'll sail into the harbour no prouder man there'll be
We'll show them all we captured the monster from the see"
"Now a 100 years have passed since the Captain and his men
went down to spend their days in Davy Joneses' den
The whale it goes on living but inside it bears a scar
And if you're ever near that place a voice calls from a far
So bend your backs and row me lads and take me to me whale.
Tonight we'll sing and dance and tomorrow we will sail."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monogoofy x Bush

Sometimes the vastly different images (both in physical location and point in time) I want to use for making multiple exposures make it impossible to do in camera. While in camera work is a lot of fun (hoping for the best or being surprised by an unexpected crazy looking result), modern software enables anybody with imagination to take two (or more) old analogue transparencies and layer them together to generate a new image. This one called - "Thinking about surfing while doing the gardening."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mono Moo Bar

Fraser Island