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11. April 2010 09:44
by Rene Pallesen
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Water fun

11. April 2010 09:44 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

water fun





Water fun

I read this article about how to take water photos in an easy way. The photos is taken using a bare flash firing onto a white background at 1/8th power. The blue colour is because I (on purpose) changed the white balance of the camera to Tungsten.

I only had a shallow painting tray at my disposal. This paint residue in the bottom of the tray creates the pattern in the photo. I also couldn't get a nice formed drop pattern forming due to the drops hitting the bottom of the shallow tray unevenly.

Lessons for next time: Use a deeper tray. Make it black so that no other colours penetrate and make dure the water can reach the edge of the tray. Next time I try I will use one of the large scanpans we have...I think it will be better suited.

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6. April 2010 12:19
by Rene Pallesen
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Tasmania - Easter 2010

6. April 2010 12:19 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

tasmania easter 2010


During the Easter Break Kim and I made a trip to Tasmania. This was to be our last holiday together before the baby arrives.

Tasmania is an island south of Australia about 1.5 times larger than Denmark. The east coast is lightly populated and the west coast is mainly national parks and forests.

We had rented a car to make it easier for us to get around and the first place we headed to was Cradle Mountains national park. This is probably one of the most iconic places in Tasmania and every Australian has seen the pictures of the mountain itself.

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The drive there was full of contrast. There has always been of criticism of the lumber industries in Tasmania and when you see the methods they use to cut down trees then it is easy to see why. They don't do selective cutting, they instead pretty much bulldoze whole areas which then take many decades to recover.

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One of the days there we did a number of walks within the park and around the lakes. Kim is 7 months pregnant and did really well although walking a bit slower than normal.

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We also did some walks to some of the lookouts and waterfalls in the park.

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I did have some time to experiment with some photos along the way.

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I really wanted to see some of the wildlife in the park, but unfortunately most of the animals are nocturnal (only out at night). The park had a bus going through the park at night time costing $50 for the two of us. We spoke to the driver and he said that we would not be able to leave the bus at any time. I really wanted to be able to get off the bus at take some wildlife photos so we instead decided to drive our rental car through the park late at night. We wouldn't have the luxury of the nighttime lights and the local knowledge of where to spot certain animals but we thought that the bus would be staying on the same road as we did anyhow.

It turned out to be a really good idea. We managed to spot lots of Possums, Wallaby's (a small Kangaroo) and Wombats. We even spotted Quolls and a Tasmanian Devil. May has later told me that the frog in the photo is a 'Southern Brown Tree Frog' and that she keeps one of them as a pet.


Below is photos of the animals we spotted:

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(The closeup photos of the Tasmanian devil and the Quoll I've borrowed, but the rest are my own photos.)

After this we drove to Freycinet national park on the east coast. Along the way we stopped at a few scenic spots and wineries. One of the places we stopped was a place called Devils Gullet. It would have been really spectacular had it not been for the dense fog.


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It was a fairly long drive getting there and I was pretty buggered by the time we arrived to the B&B after driving most of the day with just a few stops on the way to rest and take photos.

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The sun started to set and I rushed Kim down to the beach in from of the place we were staying to take some portraits using some creative lighting. She wasn't too keen as the wind was a bit cold and we missed the actual sunset by just a couple of minutes. I did however manage to take a couple of photos of her.

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In the evening we went to a very nice restaurant called 'The edge' very close to the B&B. This turned out to the be highlight in terms of meals during the trip. It was very nice. On the way to the restaurant we spotted a Tasmanian owl and afterwards we did a drive through the national park spotting more Quolls, Possums and Wallabies.


The next day we decided to do a number of other walks. The first one of the day included climbing up to the top of this saddle between two mountain tops to get a magnificent view of Wineglass Bay. The climb itself was spectacular in itself as the mountains are formed by this pink coloured granite (I was looking for climbing routes, but most of the granite looked completely barren of any holds...some lunatic would probably come and prove otherwise).

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Along the trail we we spotted a baby Black snake, a couple of Lizards and birds.

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We also made a drive up to 'Friendly Beach' where we took a lot of photos. This beach was mostly deserted apart from a couple of walkers and surfers.

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At sunset we drove to Honeymoon bay to get some scenic shots using the colour of the setting sun against the pink granite as well as some normal sunset photos.

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In the evening we had a clear sky with lots of stars. Because of the light population of Tasmania there is not a lot of city lights to disturb the stars gazing. It has been years ago since I was able to lie down and just look at the stars to see if I could spot any satellites moving across the sky (this evening I spotted 2).

I used the opportunity to after dinner drive back to Honeymoon bay to do some star trail photography. I left Kim in the car as she didn't want to make the walk down to the beach in the dark without a torch.

I did take two photos down there using a 30 minute exposure (the maximum my camera allows & @f4.0). They turned out reasonable okay considering what camera they are taken with (Nikon D50).

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Next day it was back to Sydney. We left Freycinet at 8.30am in the morning and I was stressing that we wouldn't make it back to the airport in time...but we did!

14. March 2010 08:17
by Rene Pallesen
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Week 25

14. March 2010 08:17 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

week 25


It is now week 25 and almost the third trimester. Kim is certainly getting a lot bigger these days but is still very active with swimming, yoga and walking (According to Kim baby is very active too). Both baby and mum are so far doing fine.


Week 25


They say that most of the growth is in the third trimester...she could be huge!


We have finished painting the baby room and we have bought the most essential furniture such as a cot, a chest of drawers, car seats etc. It is now up to Kim to decorate the room so that it looks nice.

13. March 2010 09:05
by Rene Pallesen
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Taste of Sydney

13. March 2010 09:05 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

taste of sydney


Today Kim and I met up with Sasha and his wife to go to 'Taste of Sydney'. This is an annual event where the premier restaurants of sydney and food and wine producers showcase their food and wine.

This year it was held in Centennial park which is the largest park in sydney which is pretty convenient for us.

At the event they had what the call 'Chef's table'. This is where you can sit down with the chefs of some of the premier restaurants and they will tell you about their restaurants, their food and you can ask them questions. In the mean time they were serving us seafood, wine and cheese (I discovered a new cheese that I in particular really liked).





They also had showcases where some of the chefs from some of sydney best restaurants show you how to cook different dishes. We went to one session where we saw Matt Moran from Aria prepare a lovely cured trout. This was cured like Gravad laks using salt, sugar, coreander and fennel and then cured a secod time using dijon mustard and dill.

Cured Trout


The different restaurants were also having some of their food for sale. Some of it was quite nice (I had a nice yellowfin tuna), but I don't think it was a proper representation of their food. It is difficult to prepare and cook in large quantities without access to proper kitchen facilities, so most of the food was more fancy fast food.








10. March 2010 10:05
by Rene Pallesen
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King Lear

10. March 2010 10:05 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

king lear


Last weekend Kim and I went to see King Lear at the Sydney Opera House. Kim had managed to get cheap preview tickets on the third row from the stage which is pretty unheard of.

King Lear

The play wasn't anything fancy in terms of stage production, costumes or anything (Actually some of the actors were wearing fairly modern denim jeans).

On the side of the stage they had positioned a drumkit and a girl was banging away all throughout the first half of the performance. I found this very distracting and annoying since I was already trying hard to concentrate on understanding the old Shakespearean English.

During the second half they moved the drumkit off the stage, so I must say that I actually started to enjoy the play a lot more.

Given that we got pretty cheap tickets I found the evening pretty good value, but I don't think I'd pay full price for this one.

22. February 2010 02:04
by Rene Pallesen
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Swimming at Maroubra

22. February 2010 02:04 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

swimming at maroubra


Sunday I convinced Kim that we should go to the Beach. I wanted to try my underwater casing for my pocket camera in the waves to see if I could get some good photos. In 2000 I went to the World Press Photo exhibition and saw these great underwater photos from the surf and was inspired to see if I could re-create them.


Kim insisted that we picked up a beach shelter on the way there so that she would have some shade. We found on in K-Mart and then went on our way to the beach.

The first few minutes folding up the beach shelter was a disaster (It was one of those quick fold out ones where you just pull a string...junk!!) and eventually we just threw it all back in the bag deciding to return it on the way home (we'll get a pop-up one instead).


Taking the photos turned out to be a lot trickier than expected. It was fairly windy and the visibility wasn't great. Also the pocket camera tries to auto focus prior to taking the photo which was difficult with everything moving around constantly so most of the time the camera didn't take the photo.It was also quite hard to aim the camera while being battered around by the waves.








I did however manage to take these photos that turned out somewhat alright. I might try again one day when the conditions are better (and I've figured out how to lock the focus on the camera)

22. February 2010 01:12
by Rene Pallesen
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Uncle and Auntie in Sydney

22. February 2010 01:12 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

uncle and auntie in sydney


For the past three weeks my uncle and auntie (Eli & Henning) has been travelling in New Zealand with a tour group.

On the way home they did a 24 hour stopover with the group so do some quick sightseeing before continuing their journey.

They had a tightly packed program arriving late in the afternoon, out for a late dinner and then spend then morning next day on a tour around the city before heading back to the airport.

Kim and I managed to catch up with them in the evening for dinner at Nicks at King Street Wharf. Afterwards we went for a walk down to Circular Quay so that they could have a look at the Harbour bridge and the Opera House at night.

Dinner with Eli and Henning

By the time we got back to the hotel it was midnight and they had to check out of their hotel early next morning.

We hope that they enjoyed the sightseeing the day after (it was a fairly warm day) and that they had a good journey back to Denmark. Apparently there is a lot of snow there currently so they were prepared for the fact that they would have to do a fair bit of digging to get to their car and into their house.

It is not very often that we have visiting family from Denmark so it is always a pleasure to see them.

19. February 2010 05:00
by Rene Pallesen
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More garden critters

19. February 2010 05:00 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

more garden critters


This weekend I was cutting down the bouganvillae in the garden. Whenever I cut down some of the vegetation in the garden it is always interesting what insects I discover in the process. Because of the variety of plants there is always something new to discover. I try not to use pesticides in the garden itself...better to just let nature find a balance.

On this occation I discovered a large Garden spider and a Green Praying mantis (I have seen a Mantis before in the garden and they are great to have a pest control). Both are totally harmless.



Green Praying Mantis Common garden spider


This is what a website had to say about this Common Garden Spider:

"Now this is your classic common garden spider from Sydney. The Australian Museum page on garden orb weaving spiders tells me there is a second, almost identical species (edulis) but that that lives further inland. There must be hundreds of people each summer who can be seen jumping madly up and down in their gardens swiping at themselves just to be sure to get rid of this guy from their clothing after they've walked through a web. Although certainly large enough, this spider is reluctant to bite humans. "


Last week I did however see a redback spider on the other side of the house. Needless to say that I killed it before I got a chance to take a photo (They are extremely venoumous and the closest relative to a Black Widow). To be honest it is the first time I've seen one in the wild for more that 10 years so fortunately they are very rare.

13. February 2010 07:35
by Rene Pallesen
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Open Air Cinema

13. February 2010 07:35 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

open air cinema


This saturday Kim had booked tickets for 'The wolf man' at the open air cinema.



Every year in January and February Sydney hosts a number of events such as operas, concerts and cinemas.

The open Air cinema is located at Ms Macquaries Chair in the botanical garden overlooking the city, the opera house and the bridge.

Open Air Cinema

Open Air Cinema

It is a spectacular setting, especially when the weather is really nice as it was saturday (last year it was pouring down with rain). This years all the seats were sold out within 30 minutes, but Kim was quick to get a couple (smart cookie).

Even though we got there two hours early most of the seats had already been taken. We did manage to find two seats that were really good eventually (we were worried that we'd have to sit on one of the first rows right in front of the screen.


Opera House

The movie was about warewolves and it was funny to listen to people reaction when large fruit bats from the botanical garden flew down in front of the set.

2. February 2010 03:08
by Rene Pallesen
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Hamilton Island 2010

2. February 2010 03:08 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

hamilton island 2010


This weekend we went for an extended (4 nights) weekend to Hamilton Island with Kims Family.

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Hamilton Island is located 1500 kilometers north of Sydney (2.5 hours flight) in the Whitsundays group of islands near the great barrier reef.

This time of the year it is rain season up there and the first three days it was raining a fair bit. This didn't stop us from spending time in the pool or at the beach though. In the evenings we would spend time in the cocktail bars, dining our or playing blackjack.

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On the first and the last morning morning we did some catemaran sailing. The wind was a bit patchy with periods with no wind and other with lots of wind.The last day however was beautiful and I gave Kim a very basic first course in sailing after which she took over the steering.


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Click here to see a video from the catemaran


One of the other days there was too much wind for them to allow the catemarans going out. I managed to convince the people at the beach to let me take out one of the windsurfers. It was a pretty short session as I found that I am totally out of shape but as least Chong managed to have a bit of a go as well.

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Click here to see a video from the windsurfing


We booked an afternoon of snorkeling up near Hayman island. It was a day with pretty rough seas and even though it was a pretty big boat it was really thrown around and a lot of people on the boat got sea sick (Dylan got a bit sick, but otherwise everyone else in the family was ok). After about an hour of sailing the captain said that the seas were too rough and that the water was too murky and dangerous to continue, so he cancelled the trip and returned to port. A bit of a disappointment, but at least we got a refund and a bit of a sailing trip out of it.

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I brought a waterproof pouch for my pocket camera which meant that I could take photos under the water and while sailing. This resulted in some pretty good photos in the pool.

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The kids (Kims nephews and niece) recently started swimming lessons. They are still a little uncomfortable with the water although this did improve while we were at Hamilton. Especially Ethan is not very comfortable as you can tell from this video:

Video of Ethan swimming


We also took some nice photos of some of the local wildlife and flora on the island and in the dining places.

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