The Great North West

98% Completion, seconds from the end


The above, blurry, photo shows my current location. Situated in the North West of Western Australia are dozens of places like this, work sites where billions and billions of dollars are being spent.
It may not look like it, but this is a multi-billion dollar project, a wharf expansion for a port that links by rail to mines located hundreds of kilometres inland.  The entire port handles iron ore only and it handles several hundred Mt/a. And it’s going to double that with this expansion.

I absolutely love my job. I’m an engineering/construction surveyor working on some of the biggest projects in the world. When I was a kid I played with Lego and Meccanno and was always building industrial stuff. Shit, I say as a kid, but if you put either toy in front of me now, you won’t get a word out of me for a few hours.
One of the best things about working like this is the places I get to go to.  Some are extremely remote, two hours of serious 4×4 driving to get to the nearest road and some are located next to sleepy little towns in the middle of nowhere. All of these places are great for photography, I’ve even called my job a distant second priority to the photography.

<rant>What shits me though, are the self righteous and entitled fucks who expect everything on a silver platter. Not every one who works in places like this are like that, but it seems to be getting worse. Perhaps it’s just an obvious minority, like political lobby groups, but they sure bring the mood of the place down. I’ve never could have imagined that some one could get paid so much to do so little and still feel hard done by! Deck hands and labourers who get paid $150k+ and won’t work because they feel their conditions are unfair. Operators on $200k+ who won’t work because they don’t like their supervisor for personal reasons.
It makes me fume.
Some people blame the unions, others blame the current political parties and some blame the companies, contractors through to the clients, but I think they are missing the obvious culprit here. Culture. It is all through Australia, a sense of entitlement that disables the effected’s ability to be responsible and capable, “I’ve done my bit and don’t need to do any more”. It’s such a far cry from the propaganda stereotypes that every one knows about Australia, that when you tell people what you are thinking, they treat you like a heretic.</rant>

I think I might bring my camera in to work with me tomorrow and take some photos of birds or something….


(a)Typical Autumn Photos

I had a little spare time on the drive to work today, so I used it to take some photos. It feels like a month since I last picked up my camera (it’s been 6 days).

Ive been wanting to shoot the above shot for some time, but it seems that every year I am away in the few weeks that it takes for the leaves to turn from green to brown and then to dropping on the ground.

I’ve always hated taking typical photos. Not that they don’t look good, I just feel I’m not trying hard enough to be creative.

I stopped a second time to shoot a kestrel, which flew away the moment I got out of the car. I did shoot the below scene tho, it just seemed wrong for this time of year, but then again, it’s  probably wrong to shoot landscapes with a 400mm lens, so whatever.


Work, rest and… then work some more


The above is a photo of my desk at the end of a tender.

For those who don’t know, a tender is like a quote, but a little more detailed. Our tenders are quite extensive, they say who we are, what we do, what we will do for you and how much it will cost, who will do what bit and how those people will do it, and how good we are at doing it and how well we’ve done it in the past. The resulting 400 page document gets given to the client, who then hopefully gives us the job.

Well, that’s the simplified version. If you have ever wanted to be incredibly bored, try reading this….
The four bottom copies had to be printed on cheap paper just so they were thin enough to fit in the binders correctly!

Anyway, the point of this whinge is that it is an excuse.  This is the reason I have not been shooting lately, that I have not been processing lately and that I haven’t even been reading other peoples blogs.

I work in engineering, surveying and construction, I have worked all over Australia, in some very remote places and some very crowded places. I took this job because it meant I would be home most nights, spend less time working in the North West and I would get to learn some new skills.  Having come from sites where working 90hrs+ a week is normal, I thought I was prepared for the onslaught of working in an engineering office preparing tenders and other documentation. Little did I know….

Next week marks 1/3 of the way through my contract, but hopefully it marks the beginning of some more reasonable working hours. It is so incredibly frustrating driving past great photo ops everyday and not having the time or energy to stop and shoot. I don’t even put my camera in the car at the moment, there is no point.

I just can’t wait for a few days of shooting sunrises, harassing some birds and swearing at my new printer.

Bells Rapids

Bell Pano

We spent part of our weekend in the Swan Valley. Most people think of the Swan Valley for it’s wine, chocolate and tourist traps.

I’ve spent very little time in the Swan Valley before and the vast majority of that time was in the air, the flight paths from Karratha, Barrow Island, Port Hedland and the rest all pass direclty over the Swan Valley. Prior to Saturday, I had often looked down at the above scene and wondered where it was exactly, how to get there and if it was open to the public. On Saturday, as I drove into the car park for this area, I still had no idea that where I was was where I had often wondered about, I was pretty distracted with other things.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I figured it out!


I had a short wander up the valley, not stopping until I found some actual rapids. Shooting scenery in the middle of the day isn’t ideal, but as with anything, the challenges are what  makes  it interesting.

Project Delays

Project Delays

I’ve not been shooting much lately. I’m not even taking my camera to work these days. No more stops on the drive up the hill to shoot a sunset.
Work is taking up all of my time. Once this week is over, I will have time again, time to shoot.

In other news, I finally bought a decent printer. An Epson R3000. I’m no pro when it comes to printing, but it’s a nice thing to learn and since our nearest quality printer is 45mins away, it’s an investment into self-sufficiency.