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Life Through The Lens…

Fraser Island’s diverse and pristine sandscapes make it a paradise for photographers and videographers the world over.  This pristine, great sandy isle captured the attention of David Trood, a photographer who divides his time between Australia and Denmark and who visited our shores recently.  

David has been involved in creative photography for more than thirty plus years, which he says has given him an eye for creating intriguing short stories in video.  

Here’s David’s story… and Fraser Island, as seen through his lens.

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Being a photographer, I love to hear stories and this one about Fraser Island is simple, strong, and so interesting that I want to tell it again.  I was on Fraser Island earllier this year on holiday and was down on the beach early the first morning to get a few shots of the 4×4 in the sunrise.

While the sun was coming up over the waves, I met one of the locals who told me a story – a really really old story, but for me…the tourist…it was new.

The Island is called ‘K’gari’ pronounced Gar – re, and was given to it hundreds of lifetimes ago by the Butchulla people, the local indigenous people to the island. The word means PARADISE.

Fraser Island sunrise

David Trood discovers a patch of paradise in Queensland

After hearing the story about this place they call paradise, the island started to look different to me, and I began to see why it was given that name in the first place.

Now I wonder why it was even changed or taken away.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousands words, to this short video is the story about a magical place in Australia called K´gari.

You can also catch David and see more gorgeous photos on his Facebook page.  This content has been reproduced with David’s permission.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Fraser Island Photography Tour Better Than Books At School

Fifteen-year-old Caitlin Allen is finalising some work experience with Danielle at Bluedog Photography and, as part of a special treat, joined the recent trip to Fraser Island (August 2011). Here’s a few of Caitlin’s thoughts:

The resort's famous Centre Complex

The resort's famous Centre Complex

As a very special treat for my birthday in August 2011, my Mum took me along on the Bluedog Photography Fraser Island Tour to Kingfisher Bay Resort.

As part of the group, I learnt a lot of amazing things about photography that helped me create better-looking images by getting to know my camera and being able to take it off ‘auto mode’ and try out lots of different settings, including manual!

Our tutors, Danielle Lancaster and Peter Meyer, were always there to give me advice about the shot I was taking and were very knowledgeable about the wildlife and history of Fraser Island.  This made every day really interesting while I was also learning more on important methods of photography throughout the tour.  In fact, most of the time it didn’t even feel like learning as it was so much fun!   The photographs we took helped me to get a better understanding of the way my camera works and also important aspects of photography including composition, white balance and long exposure shots.

Spring has sprung on Fraser Island

Spring has sprung on Fraser Island

During the tour we visited a number of well-known places on Fraser Island that were amazing to see and great to photograph, such as McKenzie Jetty, the rainforest, Indian Head and the Eastern Beach.  The Eastern Beach and Indian Head would have to be my favourite places. Then again, there was the whale watching tour, which would also have to be on my favourites list.  These majestic creatures were absolutely awesome to watch as they played around our boat!  We had to make lots of noise so the whales would come closer to check us out, which they did, and it was an amazing thing to be able to photograph them so close.  I am positive it is something I will never forget.

The enthusiasm of Danielle and Peter along with the untouched wilderness on the island, the amazing wildlife and the scenic views we experienced were among the things that have inspired me to keep taking photos and advance my knowledge on the subject.  Oh, and Danielle and Peter are the greatest photographers, tutors and tour guides on the planet!

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Resort Guests

 

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Bluedog Photography: Photographing Humpback Whales Off Fraser Island

Bluedog Photography teamed with Kingfisher Bay Resort to release a three-day photographic retreat on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – mixing Fraser’s natural attractions with lessons in wildlife photography.  Here Bluedog’s Danielle Lancaster shares her tips on photographing Humpback Whales – 30 August 2011.

Under Belly - Fraser Island-style

Under Belly - Fraser Island-style

Yesterday was our last day on Fraser Island and once again the Gods of Fraser smiled upon us. As we boarded the Hervey Bay Whale Watch Quick Cat II with skipper Brian at the helm, a pea soup fog slowly surrounded us.

Many on board looked worried but I knew that this was a good sign. I tried to alleviate the group that by the time we motored up to Platypus Bay it should lift and usually after a thick fog the day will have clear blue skies – perfect conditions for whale watching. All we needed now was Humpback whales in Hervey Bay.

At the Jetty at Kingfisher Bay Resort just before we took off
and the fog in the background got thicker but the light was awesome!  And whales we had!

We stopped counting at 12 and they came right into us so we could almost touch them. They were splendid. Pods of no less than three at a time waved back at us, slapped at the water and passed from one side of the boat to the other (thankfully underneath it) and rolled in just a mere few centimeters under the water right next to us. It was truly another memorable whale watching trip.

Close encounters of the Humpback kind

Close encounters of the Humpback kind

How close did they come!   We often term it as whale soup!

They love the interaction and while at first you feel a fool waving and calling it does make them come to us for a play.

Platypus Bay, on the north western side of Fraser Island is one of my favourite locations to view humpback whales. The reasons are very simple: it’s usually calm, I have never missed seeing numerous whales each time I go out and the numbers each year just keep on growing.

It is hard to imagine we nearly hunted them to extinction and that when whaling in Australia was finally banned in 1963 it was estimated there were only 200 individual Southern Humpback whales left. Numbers are increasing at the rate of 8% to 11% per year. Today it is thought between four to five-thousand humpbacks that pass along the east coast of Australia will venture into Platypus Bay.

I was a happy camper and not alone. All on our Bluedog Kingfisher Bay Photography Tour were more than ecstatic and it was a brilliant way to finish off yet another tour. See you next year Brian!

A Couple of Humpback Whale Facts
Whales migrate along the Eastern Coast of Australia from August to October south to the Antarctic with their calves.

Humpback whales belong to the group of mammals called Cetacea. This group includes all of the dolphins, whales and porpoises.

There are two populations of humpback whales in the world, one living in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern hemisphere.

Humpback whales are marine mammals and like other mammals they are warm blooded and air breathing. They give birth to live young and their young suckle milk. At some stage of their life they have some hair on their bodies. The humpback calf will suckle up to the rate of 400 to 500 litres a day.

Humpback whales are the fifth largest of all the dolphins and whales – with adults growing up to 15 metres and weighing up to 40 tonnes. A new born calf is around 4.5 metres long and 1.5 tonnes in weight.

Thar she blows!

Thar she blows!

A Couple of Whale Photography Tips
Call out and wave to them – yes you will feel silly at first but they do react to us and will come closer to have a look.
Use a polariser.
If you can take two cameras: one with a larger zoom or telephoto lens and another wider lens.I generally use a 500mm and a 24-70mm.

Take the time to enjoy the moment without the camera in front of your face. They are truly incredible creatures!

For more information visit: http://www.blue-dog.com.au/

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Bluedog Photography: Shipwrecks, Sand Blows, Scribbles and Scenic Lookouts

Bluedog Photography teamed with Kingfisher Bay Resort to release a three-day photographic retreat on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.  Bluedog’s Danielle Lancaster blogs about her second last day on Fraser Island  – 29 August 2011.

Daisies grow wild on Fraser's eastern side

Daisies grow wild on Fraser's eastern side

Yes I am running a day behind with our Fraser blogs so you’ll all have to wait till tomorrow to hear about our adventures with the Humpbacks.

Yesterday, our day exploring the Eastern Beach was a huge day and another that turned out perfect with the weather. Amazing clouds graced the sky; we were treated to a magnificent sunset and had a little birthday party for one of our crew.

After a stop in the Scribbly Gum Forest and another tutorial we headed onto 75 Mile Beach with perfect timing with the outgoing tide making our journey along this designated road an easy drive down to the Pinnacles and its coloured sands.

We stopped to capture paper daisies and play games with reflections and at Indian Head where we hiked to the top we were rewarded with sightings of whales, turtles and colourful finches and wrens – the last two had our keen birdo photographers eagerly snapping.

By now the sky was really looking like it may do some ‘trippy’ things for the arvo so we headed back to the Maheno as now the light would be better to capture her sitting silently on the beach.

Did you know that between 1856 and 1935 there have been 23 recorded shipwrecks in Fraser Island waters? Even the island is named after shipwreck victim Eliza Fraser. And we all love a good shipwreck story don’t we?

The wreck of the Maheno - gorgeous!

The wreck of the Maheno - gorgeous!

The S.S. Maheno, which is undoubtedly the most famous and has become a landmark on the island came to grief beaching near The Pinnacles in 1935. Her story is not an overly glamorous one. Built in 1905, it was one of the first turbine-driven steamers. She plied a regular route between Sydney and Auckland until she was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during World War One.

In 1935, she and her sister ship the Oonah were sold to Japan for scrap. The rudders of the boats were removed and they were being towed to Japan. When they reached Queensland Waters, a cyclonic storm snapped the tow chain and the Maheno drifted helplessly onto Fraser Island’s ocean beach.

During World War Two the wreck was used for air force target practice and the Z Force Special Unit used her to practice with limpet mines prior to the raid on Singapore Harbour. Surprisingly enough she still stands her rusting hull now signposted a no go zone. She does look terrific though when the waves come crashing through and while overcast skies deter many this can present wonderful photographic opportunities. Low tide can offer tremendous reflections especially if the sky turns on a show.

However, I was a little saddened to see some idiot had thought it a must to acknowledge their presence at the site by applying purple paint to her rusting hull. Why oh why is this so?

With the clouds now starting to roll and fluff we went to one of our favourite sand blows on the island. This desolate landscape came alive and soon we were all down low capturing isolated dwarfed trees hanging on by bare roots systems, weathered stumps and sand ripples in what many would consider an almost uninhabitable environment.

Sunset on Fraser Island's famous 75-Mile Beach

Sunset on Fraser Island's famous 75-Mile Beach

Time for sunset and Pete and I choose one of our preferred Pandanus Palms that sits on a razor like edge of sand. Thank you once again to the Gods of Fraser as the sky now turned pinks, purples and mauves. To finish off the day’s shooting, well we could not resist and did a little steel wool burning on the beach which soon had the fisherman joining us and relishing the free show. Even a dingo came to see what all the fuss was about.

With darkness now around us it was time to head home. We skirted the incoming waves and guided the vehicles along the soft sand of the upper shore line and off the beach once again through Frasers Forest. But the cameras were not away long as we soon came across Echidnas out for their night stroll which afforded us another great opportunity to fine tune some flash photography.

Yes we were tired when we finally arrived at dinner but excited too for it had been a really great day and topped off with a double chocolate Forest cake for our birthday girl. I am sure we all slept very soundly after our adventurous fun-filled day.

Did you know:
The 158-ton schooner named the Seabelle was one of the first ships to be recorded as lost off Fraser Island after leaving Rockhampton on 7th March 1857.

Rumours abounded about survivors of the Seabelle. A white woman and two white girls were reported to be living with Fraser Island aboriginals. New South Wales authorities commissioned the captain of the Coquett to investigate and he bought to Sydney two young girls who were albino. They were never returned to their parents as he had promised and they died in an institution in Sydney at an early age.

To view Danielle’s photos or for details on the next Fraser Island retreat, visit the Bluedog Photography official Facebook page.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Bluedog Photography: Fun With Photography In The Rainforest on Fraser Island

Bluedog Photography teamed with Kingfisher Bay Resort to release a three-day photographic retreat on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – mixing Fraser’s natural attractions with lessons in wildlife photography, framing landscapes and seashores, using natural lighting and camera techniques.  Bluedog’s Danielle Lancaster shares her time on Fraser Island in a series of insightful posts – 27 August 2011.

What a day! The forest is looking fabulous, the lakes pristine and the weather has been well can I say it, near perfect!

Fraser Island's rainforest is full of surprises

Fraser Island's rainforest is full of surprises

The unique rainforest on Fraser Island I have always thought to be one of its best hidden secrets. The crystal clear waters silently running along Wanggoolba Creek’s sandy floor once again astonished our group with one telling me it was ‘way cool’ at Central Station.

Ancient  Angiopteris ferns, boasting the largest single frond in the world, edge the creek interspersed with palms and rainforest timbers.

The Gods of Fraser once again smiled on us. We had a day of fun with wonderful light.

The giant rainforest timbers caused quite a controversy on Fraser for many years after being discovered in  1842 by Andrew Petrie, a former superintendent of public works in the Brisbane penal colony, when he explored Fraser Island and returned with glowing reports of the abundance and quality of timber that Fraser Island had to offer. Timber as an industry in Queensland was just beginning with massive building ventures planned good supplies were keenly sought.

Most don’t know that in 1860 Fraser Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve only to revoked two years later when the value of its timber was realised.  Logging operations started on the island near Wanggoolba Creek in 1863 when John Yankee Jack Piggot, a brash, red-haired American timber cutter, harvested kauri pines. These pines were rafted up the Mary River to the Maryborough mill.

As you could imagine timber getting and European settlement caused many conflicts with the Aboriginal people.  A significant turn came with the tragic clubbing to death of John Piggot in 1864. Logging was halted on the island until 1868 when the first bullocks were brought in to haul logs. These timbers were far too valuable to leave alone and logging soon spread across the rainforest of the island.

Interestingly enough while we are on a little history, the first reafforestation scheme in Queensland occurred on Fraser Island during 1883-84 with the planting of 28,000 kauri pine seedlings among heavy scrub. Unfortunately the planting was not successful as kauri pines are not shade tolerant.

The timber industry grew and grew. Tramways were laid, camps set up, villages appeared, even schools were built. Thousands and thousands of acres were purchased for the right to log.

Tallowwood and blackbutt were the most highly sought after timber species. Denser hardwoods were also harvested and as these could not be floated to the mainland, the logs were punted on barges to the mills.

The magnificent satinay trees, prior to 1925, had not been popular as they were regarded as too soft for hardwood and too hard for softwood; however the timber was found to be resistant to white ant, borer and fire and the close texture of the wood and beautiful lustre when polished made it became popular for cabinet making. Fraser’s satinay timber even made its way to the lining of the Suez Canal and the London Docks.

During the 1980s the State Government came under increasing pressure from conservation groups to halt logging on Fraser Island. Logging finally ceased after recommendations from a Commission of Inquiry with Mr Gerald E.(Tony)Fitzgerald as Chairman in 1991. Thankfully not everything was felled.

Today we visited Pile Valley which has the tallest of the Satinay and brush box on the island. Pretty Wanggoolba Creek and Central Station where there are still remnants left over from the heady timber getting days.

Of course Lake McKenzie was on the list, where sadly the best tree to photograph has been placed behind a wire fence to protect it from human impact. We still had fun playing with the light reflecting in its clear waters, the colourful reeds and tiny sun dews.

McKenzie's Jetty - Fraser Island

McKenzie's Jetty - Fraser Island

And to finish off it was to McKenzie’s Jetty – well what remains of it. Mr H. McKenzie was a big timber merchant who invested a lot of money and time in Fraser’s timber industry and this jetty is an absolute gem at sunset.

White Balance was one of the many tools we played with here. To this day I just don’t understand why more don’t use it. Acquiring the image colour balanced or fairly close in camera has to be a bonus.

The graduated filters also came out and then a little light painting. All in all a fun filled day. Thank you to the Gods of Fraser Island!

Did you Know:

There are stands of Kauri Pines dating to more than 200 years old that call the Yidney Scrub, to the north and inland of Happy Valley, home.

To view Danielle’s photos or find out about the next photographic retreat on Fraser Island visit the Bluedog Photography official Facebook page.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Bluedog Photography: We Are Back On Fraser Island

Bluedog Photography teamed with Kingfisher Bay Resort to release a three-day photographic retreat on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – mixing Fraser’s natural attractions with lessons in wildlife photography, framing landscapes and seashores, using natural lighting and camera techniques.  Bluedog’s Danielle Lancaster shares her time on Fraser Island in a series of insightful posts – 25 August 2011.

Back on Fraser Island!

Back on Fraser Island!

I get to travel a lot, however Fraser Island still ranks in my top 10 places on Earth to visit. There is just an exceptional ‘thing’ here and to me it is so special to accompany people to the island to discover some of our secret photography haunts.

Fraser Island stretches over 123 along the southern coast of Queensland, and is the largest sand island in the world. The whole island was inscribed on the World Heritage List: “in recognition of its natural values as an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes and as an example of superlative natural phenomena”. It is indeed a extraordinary place formed from the shifting of sands over the last 700,000 years.

While on tour we stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort. Why did we pick this resort for our abode?   Well as some of you may know we here at Bluedog are trying very hard to be green, clean and eco-friendly. Kingfisher Bay Resort is a leading example of eco-tourism. Their dedication to environmental tourism has been recognised by receiving 32 Australian and international awards for development, architecture, and environmental tourism since opening their doors in 1992.

All the resort buildings are deliberately set below the tree line – you can’t even see them from the jetty when you arrive. They are leaders in energy efficiency: the building’s design, use of low energy bulbs and room key shut-off systems is estimated to save 855,000 kW hours of electricity per year!

Add to that all paper, glass, aluminium, tin and plastics are recycled. There’s an on-site worm farm turning sewage sludge, waste paper and kitchen preparation scraps into compost for the herb garden plus other waste minimisation, green purchasing and green product programs complete their environmental program. Not bad for a resort that welcomes thousands per year.

The other Ferry!

The other Ferry!

Anyway back to the tour. After arriving on the ferry we all checked in and headed for lunch at the Sand Bar. Packs were handed out, the fun daily ‘challenges’ revealed, questions answered and already we are all sharing jokes and laughing a lot. Something tells me this is going to be a great group to tour with.

During lunch we talked about a few of Pete’s (Pete Meyer – Resort Ranger and Fraser Island photographer) and my tips for the next few days including looking after our gear – sand can be disastrous to our gear, salt water worse but with a little care and attention we can make sure our gear is in top shape when we return .

Tomorrow we head in land exploring the forests and lakes with sunset at the old McKenzie jetty. One of our tips here to the group was to take the time to look for the finer details in the forest, textures and patterns and the way the light is falling through the foliage.

After lunch while the others got to have a little relax time to explore the resort, Pete and I went and completed all our paper work for the vehicles and permits to transport our crew around the island over the next two days.

So it’s almost time for me to head on down and meet them all now to photograph sunset across the Sandy Strait and enjoy our complimentary welcome drinks at the jetty hut before our dinner and presentation by Pete and myself later tonight.

To view Danielle’s photos visit the Bluedog Photography official Facebook page.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Sunsets on Fraser Island – snapping the perfect pic

Kingfisher Bay’s Resort Ranger and resident Fraser Island photographer Peter Meyer, chats about cool spots on Fraser. August 2010

After a day and a half of just rain and wind the skies began to clear and created one of those sunsets that takes your breath away. These are just a few photos of the sunset as it progressed. No photoshop, just truth.

I was actually very lucky to be at this place. Wasn’t out there to take any photos. The day didn’t really look like anything special. Was heading home but thought a walk on the beach might be nice. There were tracks taken and others not, a cup of tea and a biscuit and then bang you get a sunset from heaven.

Check the photos out at: http://petermeyerphotography.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/the-study-of-nature-is-a-romantic-and-passionate-affair-between-the-student-and-this-all-knowing-woman-who-bestows-her-gifts-on-those-she-deems-worthy-freud-civilization-and-its-discontents/

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2010 in Guest Bloggers

 

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