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Beasts out the back

Eastern water dragon

Wife Mariko gave me an enrolment into a 7-week online photography course with Mike Browne as an early Christmas present. I’d dabbled a bit in photography many many years ago with black and white film back in the olden times before digital cameras, and used to develop my own negatives and print my own photos. Unfortunately over the years work, time and probably a bit of laziness got the better of me and my interest gradually waned.

I bought myself an entry level digital SLR about 18 months ago (Canon EOS Kiss X5 — the Japanese term for the 600D or Rebel T3i) and since then my interest in photography has been rekindled. I’ve never been happy with my photos, though, which are fairly ordinary at best, so after fiddling around with the camera and finally getting to know what all the buttons and knobs for digital photos are (I used to have a Canon AE1, then an EOS 650 and EOS 620 — I’m a Canon person), I decided to bite the bullet and try and add some structure to my learning. Mike Browne has great videos on YouTube, so I enrolled into his
7 Building Blocks of Photography course. Still early days, but so far I’m pleased with the way the course is going and I’m learning a lot.

Anyhow, the first week’s exercises were focused mainly on observing light and how it affects the image and shades and colours within the image. I got up bright and early a week ago (last Saturday) just after dawn, and wandered around near home
taking some photos for practice with various types of lighting. In one place I hopped down next to a drain area leading into one of the canals to see if there was anything interesting with the lighting. There wasn’t, but just as I was about to turn back, I heard this shuffling sound. I looked closely in the direction of the sound, and found this staring straight back at me.

Eastern water dragon

It’s an eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii).

Eastern water dragon

I know it wasn’t part of the exercises, but the opportunity to take photos so close was too good to miss out on.

So I kept taking photos, and eventually it sauntered over. Water dragons can be territorial, but this one didn’t show any aggression. It was probably just interested in finding out what this idiot with the black box thingy in his hand was doing.

Eastern water dragon

It came over so close that I could have reached out and touched it, but it’s a wild animal, and the last thing I was interested in was having this thing become startled and climb up and tap dance on top of my head.

Eastern water dragon

After a while of strolling around and checking me out, it decided that it had had enough, and wandered off into the drain.

Eastern water dragon

For some reason, this pose and the look it gave reminds me of Robert Di Nero in Taxi Driver — “You talkin’ to me?”

It wasn’t a large beast, but a reasonable size of about 40-50cm. A fascinating morning, and I did manage to get some half-decent photos later on.


My, how they've grown.

This was a photo I took in early November last year.

I took this photo this evening.

It’s great to see them grow into healthy (and, more than likely, troublesome) adolescents.
A wonderful sight.

Swan visit

We had a visit to the lake out the back by a black swan this afternoon. Normally they come in pairs, but this is the first time I’ve seen one by itself. Obviously it must have said something bad to its partner.

Beautiful creatures.