Film Diary / 30.03.2016

Night filming in The Knoll with Mark, Jaap and Dan was the first time I have used the camera since before handing it over for repair at the beginning of the month. We saw three roosting birds, which is more than on any other walk. I filmed a net-casting spider in a tree, above head height, the same as the first of three species I have filmed but this time gaining a clearer view of spider and net. Jaap photographed a leech which had been on Dan’s boot and some glowing fungi which Mark had found, very different to the green-glowing species we regularly see. These were much bigger with a pale white glow, the fungus in the foreground was on earth below a large, fallen trunk from which numerous other fungi were sprouting. Meanwhile, Mark, Dan and I walked on. Dan pointed out the web of Hadronyche formidabilis, the Northern Tree Funnelweb and arguably the planet’s deadliest spider, on a tree next to the track. Mark tickled the trip lines and eventually lured the spider to twice emerge from one of its funnels, events I caught on camera. On the way out I filmed beautiful red fruit in… Read Complete Text


Other / 24.03.2016

Collected the camera from Dev’s office. He thought he needed some software to make the required adjustments to the back focus, but Steve found out from Sony in New Zealand that the software is not applicable for the model and will now contact a local camera repairer to see if he can solve the problem and at what cost. Meanwhile, the raided system’s register cannot identify the data contained on the hard drives because, unlike the drives, it was not part of the mirror image backup. Steve is trying to find software to overcome the impediment, but if not, we will have to load up the data anew to progressively carry out our scheduled work.


My Travels / 21.03.2016

Got back from staying with Simon and Nicole (my son and daughter-in-law) in Longreach for a few days. They have just bought their first house which is spacious and welcoming. The evaporative air conditioning system is brilliant, keeping the house cool and fresh while allowing windows to remain open to benefit from any breezes. This post is mainly about natural history and the land. One feature which delighted me was the abundant bird life in their small garden. 

The birds are attracted to a feeder and a bath under the overhanging branches of a substantial tree. Crucially there is a small clump of bushes on the other side of the boundary fence providing shade and perches for all comers. Crested Pigeons and Yellow-throated Miners were the dominant species with a variety of smaller birds, including Diamond Doves and a Little Kingfisher.

Simon showed me a bottle tree sapling which Nicole had given him as a wedding anniversary present. While taken with the beauty of the thought behind the gift, I was thrown by the proportions of the leaves which made me doubt if it was a bottle tree at all, so unlike the narrow, tapering leaves of… Read Complete Text


Other / 08.03.2016

A week ago my fortnightly evening with Steve had to be curtailed because two of the hard drives crashed, preventing us from accessing the files we needed for the work we were scheduled to do. Steve set about rebuilding the drives, which takes 30 hours or more. After the first rebuild the computer shut down and the process had to begin anew. Meanwhile Steve has acquired two replacement drives, only one of which he was able to install. I was supposed to be with him this evening, but this had to be postponed until Thursday (March 10). Meanwhile, last Thursday I took my camera to Steve’s office and met with Dev, one of his technicians, who is attempting to fix the problem which causes the right side of the frame to be out of focus on wide shots, the result of the camera falling onto an earth bank one night, a year ago. Fingers crossed for hard drives  and camera fixes.


Not The Brisbane Line / 28.02.2016

This statement dates from 2003, although I feel the original version may have been written a few years earlier. It was prompted by my experience challenging the local government/developer nexus’s approval of a procession of inappropriate development applications on Tamborine Mountain in the 1990s. From memory it was circulated to environmental organisations and bureaucrats.


1. It is the responsibility of this generation of Queensland’s opinion leaders and decision makers to secure the state’s exceptional biodiversity largely in its current form, for present and future generations. The concept of sustainable development is widely cited, but seems little understood. At heart is the question of deciding what is to be sustained, assuming that whatever it is, is sustainable. Following on from that, is the implied capacity to keep whatever this is, going indefinitely, as per my opening sentence.

2. The unpalatable reality for a political culture which has long espoused the mantra of development and growth, seen as a measure of their achievement by Queensland governments of both left and right, is that protecting the environment requires prohibiting development. By development I mean placing buildings and other infrastructure on the land. One would think that it is… Read Complete Text


Film Diary / 24.02.2016

Our 125th night walk was on 10 February, but with little to film. We created the 3 ‘Rainforest at Night’ hour long DVDs after the first 53 walks. The following week there was nothing to film. Tonight, in MacDonald National Park, I filmed a splendid Stick Insect on a tree stump next to the path. It had a robust but not particularly long body and banded legs. Next I filmed a small frog, probably a Cascade Tree Frog, on a palm leaf. I manged to capture the glint in its eye. Finally I filmed some mating stick insects. The male looked to be no more than a nymph which possibly made the female a nymphomaniac.


Other / 19.02.2016

Showrunner Productions are a no show for my possum clips. Perhaps my refusal to provide uncompressed material for free cooled their ardour. The good thing to emerge from their initial interest is that I was reminded about my Ringtail Possum footage which I had not made into a video, but have now.


Other / 08.02.2016

A few days ago I told Jaap that he could photograph a cycad (an ancient and slow-growing palm or fern-like form of plant life) across the road from the Eagle Heights Post Office. I thought no more about it until I opened my eyes and saw, to my horror, that in the intervening sixteen years since I filmed its companion next to the footpath, a White Cedar tree had all but smothered this cycad. I had simply walked by day after day, year after year without registering the unwanted intrusion of a non-native on one of Australia’s glorious endemic flora species, Lepidozamia peroffskyana. It has the largest (reproductive) cones, about 1 metre long, of all the earth’s cycads.


Film Diary / 03.02.2016

This evening I filmed in Palm Grove with Robyn, Michael and Jaap. Recent rain livened up the leeches. I was complaining that my companions were more concerned to remove leeches from their persons than find subjects for me to film. Palm Grove is notorious for leeches and we all had to pull them off legs, boots and clothing. But there was one highlight for me to film, namely five Mountain Semi-slugs (the species discovered on the mountain in 1998 and only known to exist there) on a single young palm next to the path. Not only did I film multiple specimens (two actually) for the first time in four sightings, I also filmed them in motion for the first time.


Other / 03.02.2016

The five latest videos Steve and I finished uploading today bring the total to just over 375. Among them is the ‘Ringtail Possum’ resulting from the Showrunner email (see 72 Cutest Animals below). We passed the 350 mark nine months ago. The reason it has taken so long to add the 25 plus to reach the newest milestone is that Steve and I have been busy re-titling the videos so that they can be included in my National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) footage. We went from 300 to 350 in the space of a little over 3 months. After sorting out anomalies we have 215 HD videos ready to be delivered to the NFSA once Steve has sourced a hard drive and loaded it with data files. Lately we have been working our way through the SD videos, of which we have re-titled 50 or so.