Monday, September 28, 2015

Down-low on the Brownlow

7.27pm and the countdown has started. All of the eligible men pristine in their dinner suits are entering the mansion to wait out the reality televisions' most extreme pregnant pause before learning who will be presented with the white rose. At the end of the ceremony AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (AKA Osher) will announce this years football bachelor.

But first it is the red carpet.

7.32pm James Blunt has arrived and is going to try and sing a more manly song. He has obviously not seen the amount of preening and manscaping that the guys have put into getting ready for tonight, they are not exactly the poster boys of masculinity.

A difficult conundrum wth the Red Carpet, with PM Malcolm Turnball declaring disrespecting women is "Un-Australian"for the AFL to have a women assaulted at the Preliminary Final and then past football star Billy Brownless referring to a mother and daughter as strippers at a local sports night.

Yet here we are broadcasting commentary on how attractive the WAGS are. And of course who they are wearing, which just sounds a bit cannibalistic.

8.23pm Armourguard  has arrived with the votes.  Nice product placement.

8.24pm Highlights of round one with homoerotic images of toned men grapling each other and tearing off their tops. You are right James Blunt, very masculine.

8.25pm Round 2 hightlights lots of scarves and people blowing bags of ice from their nose (the frozen ice type).

8.34pm Round 3 apparently everyone smashed into the fences, that might explain why goal accuracy is so poor.

8.37pm To stick to the overused reality television format the broadcast is filled with a lot of talking head shots with players talking about what we have already seen.

8.42pm Bruce McAvaney is now a bookie. Giving his predictions about who will be deemed most SPECIAL.

8.43pm A lot of group dates, not many couches or hundreds of candles, and no kisses of note. This episode of The Bachelor is disappointing. And no bitchiness back in the mansion. Nat Fyfe looking resplendent with his cane. I hope there is a top hat hidden backstage so he can breakout into a vaudeville style song and dance number if he wins.

8.53pm time for some reminiscing of players and coaches retire. The AFL does like a motorcade, particularly around the edge of an oval.

8.57pm So the players are introducing the highlights of each round. Thankfully they play with a lot more passion when they play. Even Nicole reads her lines with more expression. Osher is in a rush, clearly can't wait to get to the final rose ceremony. The Channel 7 commentators continue to take the pre-show favourites on 1-on-1 dates, not much of a spark.

9.01pm The alcohol is flowing and the general noise in the room is growing. The final rounds should be good.

9.03pm Bruce is in fine form now. He is quoting stats that only he could know or care about (and possibly just made up) to try and build some sense of escitement in a night that essentially a man repeatedly reading the numbers 1,2 and 3 for a few hours. Apparently Fyfe is the first player who looks like a surfer, with an injured leg, on a day with 1mm of rain, after losing a Preliminary Final in another state to receive 17 votes by this stage in the count.  In case the marathon show of footballers pontificating endlessly about a sport, McAvaney has now forward promoted another Channel 7 show "The Chosen Few".

9.09pm AFL has just remembered women also play the game and as Turnball game them some respect. 30 seconds worth. The footage montage was shorter for the entire women's season than it is for any one round of the men's competition. Respect.

9.12pm Goal of the Year Eddie Betts. Left foot banana from the boundary. Despite the skill with his feet but really struggles to put on a jacket.

9.14pm Indigenous round to recognise the contribution of indigenous players to the game. No mention of Goodes and the disrespect he received all season.

9.17 Round 10 a player and a pigeon both suffered career ending injuries.

9.19pm still no rumours of an early pregnancy as a result of the 1-on-1 dates with the  Channel 7 commentators. Perhaps there is too much alcohol flowing, which in turn prevents the love flowing.

9.21pm montage and interviews about the favourite Nat Fyfe, we learn that his high school football coach is not a comedian.

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9.26pm more flashbacks and reminiscing this time former Brownlow Medalists who are retiring. Dear AFL and Channel 7 I have some ideas about how the broadcast can be tightened.

9.27pm time for a drink as we toast retiring players in a speech that is as heavily scripted and as awkward and as little charisma as every speech given by Sam Woods to any of his girls.

9.30pm Osher can still only count to 3, and he keeps giving them to FYFE who is now 4 points clear at the top of the leader board. 4, Osher has not learned that number yet so Gyge is safe for at least 2 rounds.

9.33pm Players who are ineligible should have to pack their bags and leave the a speech in the limo home about how they should have been chosen at that Bachelor Gillon does not know what will make him happy.

9.35pm Video montage of potential marks of the year. I have to admit the high flying marks do make Aussie Rules Footy spectacular. It is a shame that for a code of football that 1 point for trying is awarded when players kick for goal and miss, but at least get close.

9.39pm Round 13, injuries, suspensions, children abusing players and poor spelling on banners. Apparently some football was also played.

9.41pm Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award. Congratulations to all nominees for all of your hard work. So much more important and bigger  than the game itself. Congratulations Dennis Armfield.

9.44pm Round 14 started with the tragedy of the death of Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh. A sombre mood in the room. A simple and poignant tribute. Round ends with Nat Fyfe 10 points clear. Osher will have to take off his shoes and socks to keep counting.

The Brownlow Medal Count is taking as long as the actual season, according to the TV guide we are only half way through. Buckle in.

9.55pm Mick Malloy proving that the Brownlow Medal room enjoys comedy as much as the TV Week Logies. We finally get some kissing, albeit with no passion. Everyone kisses their partner with less romance than one would kiss their grandmother. Happy to see some mullets back on my TV screen again!

9.59pm Bruce McAvaney is desperate, as is channel 7 to keep the viewers interest to the end of the broadcast with Fyfe so far in front. He makes up some more stats and claims that the players that are more than 3 rounds behind are about to make a comeback. How does he know, I thought the votes were delivered all secure by Armourguard.

10.02pm Another interview with Fyfe, if he does win he wont have much left to say.

10.03pm it is cliche o'clock as we watch the montage of another favourite. Apparently a footballer who has already won a Brownlow Medal will always be a Brownlow Medalist. Insightful. Again sticking with the Bachelor format by stating the obvious.

10.08pm We are still only up to round 16! An umpire got flattened. The memory of a fallen coach uplifted. Nat Fyfe is still 10 points clear at the top. Osher sounded disappointed that he did not get to say Nat's name. I think we know who he wants to give the white rose to.

10.11pm Tayla Harris and Luke Darcy have as much chemistry as Sam and Nina on the second last episode of the Bachelor. Nic Naitanui wins mark of the year.

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10.20pm Finally the AFL reclaims the notion of respect in support of Adam Goodes, having allowed him to be abused for weeks. Aboriginal players all perform traditional dances to celebrate goals. Proud of their heritage and rightly so. Besides it is just plain entertaining.

10.22pm Having finally celebrated indigenous dancing the previous round the AFL allowed Western Bulldogs mascots to dance. A lot less entertaining. Perhaps if the dances and been rehearsed and performed for thousands of years the bulldogs will be up to scratch.

10.25pm Bruce McAvaney is sprouting more incomprehensible Brownlow statistics or he was discussing the ups and downs of the stock market, or air pressure in hectopascals.  Who can tell?

10.29pm Finally some lovin'. Im round twenty two birds cant hide their love for each other and just go for it on the field. Ok so the two birds were just team mascots. But this episode of The Bachelor has been lacking hints of physical love.

10.31pm Osher/Gillon must be jealous of Bruce McAvaney's grasp of numbers. His head ids just falling out of his head. Incoherently, but numbers none the less. I think he was trying to say Fyfe leads by 6 points with 3 rounds to go.

10.36pm Round 21. More umpires hit, this time by a ball to the face. Not as goods as Australia's Funniest Home Videos staple as a ball in the crotch, but still funny.

10.38. Matt Priddis get 2 more votes closing the gap on Fyfe. Bruce McAvaney does an audition for the lead in a re-make of A Beautiful Mind by completing some mathematical gymnastics. Osher is preparing the silver tray, there appears to only be 2 roses left.

10.42pm Round 22 seemed to have a lot of players trying to end their own season early or that of their team mates, through injury. No chance of Fyfe getting a vote, Osher did not slow down. With one round to go the winner has been decided. Bruce takes him on a last 1-on-1 date. Fyfe looks about 15 years old. Keep your hands to yourself Bruce.

Here comes the song and dance routine, get his cane and top hat.

SHOCK Fyfe walks without the cane. It is a Brownlow miracle.

The white rose is presented. a long and needless speech is just delaying the inevitable pash. There are no gays in this village so there is no kiss, just a manly handshake. Hang on, Bruce is drooling a bit, good thing he is standing behind a podium.

Time to strike up the band to end this interview and let the honeymoon begin. Bruce really wants this new found love to last he is now asking Fyfe about his thoughts on relationships.

We can end now Fyfe just referred to his "journey" - the perfect end to this reality television show. Except it did not end.

Oh my god, Snezna could have become pregnant, gone full term and had her baby in the time this interview is taking. Bruce is clearly drunk or drunk with love and Nat is getting handsie. And now for an oral sex reference - this makes Bruce VERY happy!

One last irrelevant stat from Bruce and we are done!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Photographing Children

Let’s face it if you have a camera and enjoy photography at some stage you are going to take photos of your children or be asked to take photos of someone else’s.  Consider the ethical and legal responsibilities of photographers taking images of children and seek the parent’s permission before removing the lens cap.

That said let’s look at how to take better images of children. The best photos of children will capture a moment in which they are engaged in an activity, not when they are all lined up in matching outfits smiling dutifully at the camera.

The beauty of them being engaged in activity is firstly they forget about the camera and start to naturally show their personality and emotion. The second beauty is you can capture the children’s natural personality and emotion.

The camera never lies and natural expression is more honest and conveys so much more story than a pose image. The excitement of playing, the concentration of reading a book/playing a computer game, the joy when interacting with a favourite toy or animal, the interest in listening to a loved one talk.

To learn more about improving your techniques when photographing children visit d-tips/photographing-children

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Being Un-Australian

Captain Australian
Newly self-appointed Australian Prime Minister today declared it un-Australian to be disrespectful to women. This may be the first time the saying has been used to help build up and strength community as opposed to breaking it down by belittling people who dare to have a difference of opinion.

Previously it has been used to besmirch people who question whether the Gallipoli campaign that forged the spirit of the Anzac was one of the nation’s greatest military defeats instead of being one of our greatest achievements (even though the Anzacs were un-successful in their attempt to take the peninsula.

Driving slowly in the right-hand lane is also considered by many to be un-Australian.

Adam Goodes was labelled un-Australian by Brisbane Roar (soccer/football) goalkeeper Griffin McMaster because Goodes dared to be proud of his Aboriginal heritage. McMaster also called for Goodes to be deported. Deportation is the act of returning people to their land of origin. In Goodes’ case this would be the traditional lands of the Adnyamathanha and Narungga people in South Australia. A heritage the pre-dates European settlement in Australia by thousands of years. McMaster clearly missed the irony his call for deportation, as his name suggests his own heritage would see he resettling in the peat rolling hills of Scotland.

It is un-Australian to serve light and mid-strength beer at a game of footy or cricket.

Former Prime Minister, John Howard declared it un-Australian for workers to strike for their rights, or to protest against war or globalisation or anything the government was doing or proposing.

The lamb industry regularly informs us that it is un-Australian to not eat lamb, particularly on Australia Day and at Christmas, Talking of Australia Day, according to some media outlets it now appears to be un-Australian to not be dressed head to toe in clothes fashioned out of the Australian flag whist drink what is clearly full strength beer.

It has been described as un-Australian for bosses to block internet access to footy tipping websites, just as much as it is un-Australian for men to like cats, or to simply drive past a pub without stopping for a drink.

For the record the term was first used by  W. Howitt in 1855 to describe a landscape as having “an appearance perfectly un-Australian”. It is difficult to deduce if he was using this as a positive or a derogatory manner.  Though it is hard to imagine the Australian landscape of sweeping plains, stunning beaches, rainforests, red dirt desserts and unique (and deadly) wildlife being describe in a manner other than of spectacular beauty.

Whilst I wholeheartedly support Mr Turnball’s use of the to encourage a safe and respectful life for all people living in and visiting Australia regardless of gender I am concerned that the term un-Australian is in itself un-Australian  as it is often used to diminish the very truths we all hold dear those of honest, friendship and a fair go for everyone.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Photographing Pets

All pet lovers know that their beloved animal has a distinct personality. A great pet photograph will capture this personality. Quieter pets, that sleep all day or move very little should be photographed to reflect this; on their bed/perch or with their favourite blanket. More active and playful pets should be photographed in a way that captures their energy, running, catching a ball

Pets will be a more cooperative subject when they are relaxed, so consider the location of the photograph. Places that are familiar to your pet are most likely going to produce a better photograph; the backyard, the local park, in the lounge room.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Art Imitates Life

 The terms “art” and “life” are used advisedly in this sentence as they refer to The Bachelor and Australian politics respectively.

In life, after much public and media speculation and unfounded hyperbole the Liberal Party chose to send Tony Abbott home and kicked him out of the mansion. His journey came to a surprisingly quick end. The love affair is now officially over.

I just hope there was a lot of loooong pauses and longing looks as the cabinet members all stood alongside Osher waiting for producers to give the nod allowing the rose to finally be handed to Malcolm Turnbull.

Of course there were obligatory speeches delivered with false modesty and even greater false sincerity.

The real test of the relationship has only just begun. Now that the winner has been announced, the party can leave the house and start to be seen together in public. As we saw in the last season of the political dating show (and the last season of The bachelor) the chosen one did not turn out to be all they were cracked up to be and ultimately the party went back to their previous choice.

In art, after even more public and media speculation and even more unfounded hyperbole Sam chose Snezana (sounds like parmigiana) and her daughter, despite bookies odd on favourites Lana (sounds like parmigiana) who was first of all the losers and historically therefore the most likely to end up with Sam in the long run and Heather who will return to anonymity.

The decision has divided the nation and the talkback shock-jocks love it. The pro Snezana callers full of love and hop balance by the pro Lana callers who are full of vitriol and venom. There a growing call for the public to be able to have a greater involvement in the selection process to choose the winner.

In both circumstances the media is the only real winner with endless pages and minutes of airtime filled with endlessly repetitive descriptions of the events, gossip and conjecture masquerading as “expert” opinion.

The decisions have been made and ultimately - in art as in life - will have little if any bearing on the day to day lives of the vast majority of the Australian population.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Photographing Bridges

Tasman Bridge, Hobart Tasmania
Bridges are more than a structure to help to cross from one side of a landscape feature to the other, they are interesting architectural creations for photography. Either as the main subject or a point of interest in a broader scenery shot…even the simplest of bridge design. Learn about the equipment, image composition and basic camera set up to get the best photographs of your favourite bridge. Visit

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Chasing the Sunrise

Sunrise is having a working holiday. David Koch has the gall to comment “don’t say we never do anything for you”.

Unless I am on the plane and staying in the hotels in Dubai, London, New York, Niagara Falls (Canada) and Cancun with them then I am sorry Mr Koch but you are doing nothing for me.

You are doing something for current sponsors particularly Accor Hotels, Flight Centre and Toyota as well making a great push for future potential sponsors. You are definitely doing something for the cast and crew who will get a fully paid trip around the world.

Yes there is already a cavalcade of stars lined up to tell inane stories and anecdotes, but let’s be honest they are all promoting their latest project whether it be  an album, movie, book or tour, thus fulfilling their obligations to their own sponsors.

Talk about a cash cow!

So what will the viewers really get from this.

A slight niggle of jealousy, perhaps.

A team of presenters delivering slightly awkward, meant-to-be-funny stories and in-jokes, yes.

Casual racism in the form of costumes, joke, accents and patronising attempts to participate in local customs, definitely.  (It started at the announcement).

David Koch telling awful dad joke, of course! He is David Koch after all.

Then there will be the segments. Time for a game of Sunrise Bingo

1.Travel tips, always presented on a slide a series of 5-7 dot points

Getting an upgrade

Surviving a long-haul flight
Making the most of your accommodation
Traveling on a budget
Traveling as a family
Traveling as a woman

2. Behind the scenes footage.
A presenter falling asleep (fake falling asleep counts)
·         Presenters in pyjamas
·         A female presenter without makeup
·         All presenters getting their hair and makeup done with a key tourist attraction in the background
·         Presenters raising concerns about the local cuisine
·         Bloopers
·         Montage of checking in and waiting at airports, boarding planes, collecting luggage and hailing a local taxi – all done in fast forward

3. Postcard stories
Presenters each experiencing a local attraction and having simply the best time ever regardless of how ordinary it looks and how miserable the weather
·         The whacky weather presenter, Edwina Bartholomew, will be somewhere be whacky and borderline culturally insensitive.
·         The presenters trying to prove they are being culturally sensitive by participating in a local custom but end up being condescending – cue Sam Armytage, Natalie Barr and Edwina wearing head scarves in Dubai
·         Mark Beretta will visit a famous sports venue
·         Local cooking class, my guess this will be in Mexico because spices are funny
·         The male presenters will be wear shorts on camera, because legs are funny
·         The Cash Cow, because that is funny
·         As many clich├ęs as you can imagine

What will Kochie and his mate be doing for me? Dishing up the normal, boorish breakfast television that is as interesting and fulfilling as the bowl sugar-free, salt-free, fat-free, flavour-free bowl of bran I am eating for breakfast.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Selecting a Tripod

Tripod Ball Head
Tripods are almost an essential piece of equipment for all photographers – regardless of the level of experience. Hand held photography will not produce the desired results (in fact it will be almost impossible) for long exposure and night photography and very challenging with high ISO or small aperture settings.

With so many tripods on the market which one do you choose? I won’t recommend a specific brand or model, in fact I will not answer this question for you. Instead I will pose ideas for you to consider, helping you answer this for yourself.