GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #078



They say that you should "re-invent yourself" 2-3 times in your life, and by re-invent they mean not just a new job or even a new town, but an entirely new career.

I've done a heck of a lot of jobs in many towns and even countries, but I can probably lay claim to two major re-inventions. My first life in photography doesn't really count because that was my first major vocation, but around 1980 I re-invented myself as an electronics engineer, well I wasn't an engineer to start with, more a technician, but I learnt and at some point reached hardware engineer level. That morphed into software engineer, kind of a gradual half re-invention.

In the early 90s I did a another half re-invention, I was still working as a software engineer but started a sideline as a large-format black and white landscape photographer. This almost became a re-invention as I was earning money from this pastime, had a small gallery from which to sell my images, sold from my web site etc. I think that before too long that might have become a full re-invention in itself, but a mid-life crisis beat me to it.

In the late 90s I got sick of the rat race, sold everything, build a motorhome, and re-invented myself as a nomadic photographer. That particular incarnation lasted for about 15 years, 20 really as although we've been living on the block for many years now we still have the motorhome and untill recently I still considered that we are nomadic.

But, although more traveling is on the cards I am now thinking that it's time for another re-invent, you've seen the work I'm doing both in and on my workshop, but what you haven't seen is the 100s of hours of Youtube videos I watch, almost entirely of people making things. Of course I've always made things but I love the idea of being a "maker" to use the current parlance.

I'll always take photos and may even still do some electronics/programming, but I think my next "life" will as a maker of things, primarily out of steel and wood.


Till next time then, and remember,

Thu 29 Aug 2019

I get a phone call from the manager of the Gin Gin Courthouse gallery today, it's a personal matter, not about the gallery but during the course of the conversation I mention that I'm "between jobs" and she says I am welcome back at the gallery.

I think this is something worth considering as I did enjoy my time there.

Tue 27 Aug 2019

Bob and Jackie arrive. They are long time friends from Grafton that have finally decided to do the big trip around Oz, and one of their first stops is our place.

Fri 30 Aug 2019

One inch of rain today. In general the country really needs it but personally we have plenty of water and it just means more work for me keeping the grass down.

Sun 1 Sep 2019

A few years ago a friend (Glen) and I walked from my place into Gin Gin along the Gin Gin creek, a distance of about 16k.

At some point towards the end of the walk we encountered a huge fig tree and figured that it would make a great subject for a photo.

Well Glen and his wife (Caroline) have been staying for the weekend and towards the end of today we decided to go and see if we can find the tree.

We didn't have much time so walked for just half an hour up from the bridge, we found this tree but are both pretty sure it's not the one we saw all those years ago.

Still it is quite spectacular. We both took a couple of happy snaps but the light was crap, I'll have to revisit another day at a better time.


It's worth a revisit though, and maybe an expedition further into the darkest depths of the Gin Gin creek in search of the monster fig.

Tue 3 Sep 2019

It's been over a week now since I passed the forklift course and not one sign of any work from the labour hire people. The odd thing is that they told me before that they won't pay for a course unless I actually have a job offer that is contingent on a qualification for a particular skill. So the implication is very strong that, given that they just paid for the course, they have a job for me.

But it seems not.

I even rang a couple of times and was just told that they will put me forward for any positions that come up.

What the heck?

Truth is I've done the math and a job 80 kilometres away in Bundaberg (the most likely scenario) is hardly worth having, with all the associated expenses like fuel, wear on the car, taxes, lost pension etc I would wind up working for five days a week and only getting paid for one of them.

What's the point? Especially at my age when I'm not looking for advancement or to even hang around a job for long. I'll be on the aged pension in 10 months and wouldn't plan to work a day passed that date. Maybe the prospective employers I've spoken to think the same thing.

So while I'm in town I drop into the gallery to check out who's working on what days and see how I would fit in. Apparently the manager was all excited at the thought of me returning, mostly I think because I'm the only one that can handle hanging the exhibitions every month.

I think this will be the way to go, I'm not committed yet but can see myself being back at the gallery within a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I've volunteered to help with the hanging this thursday and friday.

While in town I photograph the Anglican church for a friend whose father was a priest there many years ago.


Sun 8 Sep 2019


No not that one.

I climbed Mt Walsh yesterday with Glen and Caroline and man my legs are thor today.

It's a very worthwhile climb/walk and I think I'll do it again, maybe on a day when there's not so much polution from SEQ fires and dust storms.

I piked out and decided to save on the weight of my cameras, but the phone did a reasonable job I think.


It's worth a return trip or two though, maybe even an overnighter because I think that the light on the mountain side would look real nice in the evening and morning.

Thu 12 Sep 2019

A neighbour had 12 short lengths of 75x75 RHS but he needed 8 long lengths. So I did the cut and shut, it was nice to do a bit of fabricating for a change.

 My MIG lives up near the roof and can run along the purlin on a small beam monkey. That keeps it clear of the job.

 The job all tied up ready to deliver tomorrow.

Sun 17 Sep 2019

I decide to drive home from the range via Bundaberg and get a few photos of the town buildings

 The Bundaberg Post Office is quite a nice-looking building.

 A scene on the Burnett River.

 There is a quite distinctive water tower in east Bundy.


Then on my way home I drop into the Bingera mill. I hate the place with a passion but that said there would have been some good photo opportunities there had I stayed. So I poke around for a while, with just my phone for a camera, I was going to take a real camera but thought it would be too obvious.

I worked boiling the sugar in the vacuum pans, totally crap job but interesting hardware.

 Number 2 vacuum pan. The numbers on these pans indicate tonnes of sugar and you can see the level through the portholes.

 Number three pan from number 2.

 Detail of number 3 pan.

 Number 9 pan, this is the big one, capable of holding up to 200 tonnes.

 The control room.

 Get the date on this piece of equipment, 1900.

 Another part of the plant.

And finally look at this photo, a panorama of the back side of pan number 9.


Check out this hires version in a new window/tab.

The quality is not fantastic as I used my phone, but I still think it's fascinating. Go full screen for best results.

Tue 24 Sep 2019

I go to open a door in the workshop today and it won't open. Looking up I see a python coiled up at the top.

I tug harder, the door opens and the python falls to the floor. So far so good, but there are TWO of them and the other one starts heading onto my shelves.

I don't want either of them inside the room so grab #1 and drag it out, then grab #2 that had by this time got itself entrenched in the shelf so I have to pull real hard to get it out.

I pick the other one up by the tail and proceed to take them outside, but it's a bit hard keeping an eye on two bitey ends at once so I drop them, grab both just behind their heads, and walk off into the bush to release them.

One tries to coil around me a bit but by and large they are both fairly placid. After a 100 yards or so I let them go, yeah I know, not far enough and they will come back, but I have things to do.

Sat 29 Sep 2019

We had the first QMAC Wide Bay "hammer in" on Sunday. A really good turnout and it looks promising for those of us in the Wide Bay area that want to practice the ancient craft of blacksmithing.


For more information check out the Queensland Metal Artisans Collective (QMAC) - Wide Bay's Facebook page.

Sat 5 Oct 2019

So today I go into the shed to get a shovel, as is my custom I look up to where my possum mate usually lives with a view to giving him a tickle behind the ears (he's very tolerant).

But no possum, and in his place are two pythons.


Are they the same ones as the other day? I dunno, one is about the same size but the other seems to be a lot smaller, so maybe this is a different pair.

Dozen madder, they have to go and this time I'll take them a few kilometres away so they don't come back.

Trouble is they are both entwined around various boxes and stuff on a shelf up near the ceiling. I get the smaller one out pretty easily but the big fella has no plans to leave. I grab his tail to stop him going deeper into the junk, then his head emerges from around some boxes and I grab that as well.

Now what?

The problem here is that between the two scaly ends there is a shelf and several boxes, not to mention about 9-10 feet of writhing snake.

There's no way I can pull him out head first, he's just too entrenched, and anyway he has a clear preference for retreating back into the boxes, so best to let him go that way and try to extract him tail first.

Now with these guys it's a good idea to hold on to the bitey end, so I release the tail and let him take my hand backwards behind a box to a point where I can reach around and change grip to my other hand. As one hand is right up behind his head the other of course has to grip about a hand's width further back, this opens up the chance of him turning his head around and having a go and I can't see a thing as it's all happening behind the box.

Anyway all's well and I repeat this grip swap 2-3 times until finally the snake has fallen for my cunning plan and he's backed out enough for me to yank him clear and drop him into a garbage bin with his friend.

What a shit fight.

I drive them down to the creek and let them go, they don't seem keen to leave the bin at first but eventually slide off into the long grass.

 No I didn't get bitten, just lost some bark in the scuffle.

Now where was I? Oh that's right, I was fetching a shovel.

PS. Is my possum OK or did he become snake food? I don't know, I saw no possum-sized bulge in either reptile and it's not uncommon for my little mate to go walkabout for several days.

But it's a heck of a coincidence that the snakes were shacked up in exactly the same spot. Maybe they could just smell the possum and planned an ambush on his return. Or maybe they did get him a few days ago.

I will only ever know one way if he turns up, and never know the other way.

EDIT in December: Possum is back, he disappeared for ages but is back in residence now. Must have broken up with his girlfriend and moved back home.

Sun 6 Oct 2019

I went get a brushcutter to clear some of the long grass, and after a short time fuelling it up I look to see if my possum has returned. Well cut off me legs and call me shorty, there's ANOTHER BLOODY PYTHON in residence.

No way I could get as it had already mostly disappeared into the boxes and other crap, but from what I saw it's a large as the big one I evicted yesterday.

I place an empty garbage bin at the ready, I'll get him one day.


Got him...the third snake that is.

It wasn't as large as the big one yesterday but nearly, and a LOT more feisty. He came back on me a couple of times until I managed to grab it's neck.

Oh well, another trip down to the creek. I hope this is the last one for a while.


I don't think I've ever been two faced but I came close today.

After a long hot day pulling lantana, brushcutting and evicting pythons I was pretty tired but it wasn't quite beer o'clock so I thought that I'd fire up the chainsaw and dice up some fallen timber into rounds for the fire.


After maybe half an hour doing this on a steep slope I stood back to get my breath, slipped on a rock and came down face first with the chainsaw under me.

The chain was running slowly at the time but the action of falling caused my right hand to move back and this in turn caused my index finger to move back which in turn caused the saw to go to full revs.

The chain clipped my visor but luckily I was able to hold myself high enough to be out of harm's way and not get my face cut in two (two faced...get it. Stick around, I'm here all week).

Righto, NOW it's beer o'clock.



Date  ::   23 Apr 2020
Name  ::   Tony G
Location  ::   Liverpool NSW
Comment  ::   Hi Rob,
Hope all is well for you and yours.
But where's you bin?
Date  ::   23 Apr 2020
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   We're OK but yeah I've been a bit AWOL eh?

As it happens I'm working on #79 today and should upload tonight.

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