Hi, I’d like to share this short film (< 3mins) I made of my great-auntie Eva … click on the image to view

A morning tea spent with my great auntie, at her unit in the retirement facility where she’s lived for more than 10 years. Her incapacities restrict her movements, and she no longer leaves the premises, yet her stoicism sees her through. Musing on her day to day life she seems quietly content.

Morning Tea with Auntie Eva


Lost in Space in the Outback

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope. Still in expansion – it currently has 36 dishes – the telescope will have the equivalent of 96 dishes by the time it’s fully operational in approximately 2023.

Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

Covering a feature for The Weekend Australian Magazine recently, I travelled to the remoteness of Boolardy Station to photograph the facility and the key members of the team overseeing its operation. Boolardy, a pastoral lease some 4 hours drive inland across red dusty roads from the nearest regional settlement of Geraldton on Western Australia’s central coast, is by anyones standards in the middle of nowhere.

With its eye-catching sun-bleached white dishes, the ASKAP cuts a dramatic manmade imposition on the landscape panorama. But it’s not alone in the wilderness. Another radio telescope system on the property spreads across the ochre coloured terrain appearing as robotic silvery spiders. Laid out in square grids, the so called Widefield Array was designed and is monitored jointly by CSIRO and a dozen other Australian and international science bodies.

Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

While in the neighbourhood I also had the pleasure of experiencing Astrofest, an event sponsored by the State government with talks by leading Australian based astronomers. Held at the Murchison Settlement, a roadhouse and sports facility nearby the ASKAP, it attracted some 300 amateur astronomers and astro enthusiasts from as far away as Perth, 800 kilometres to the south.

It’s interesting to note that the Murchison shire covers an area the size of The Netherlands, has a population of 113 people, hosts 29 properties and has no townships. Boolardy Station was earmarked as an ideal location for the radio telescope for this reason: it’s quiet – there’s minimal electronic interference from mobile phones and other equipment .

Where as optical telescopes can view visible light, radio telescopes pick up radio waves across the depths of the universe. As The Weekend Australian’s features writer Richard Guilliatt eloquently wrote in our article “radio waves are especially interesting to astronomers because, unlike visible light and other electromagnetic radiation, they travel the entire breadth of the universe without being absorbed and scattered by intervening matter.”

As local pastoralist Sandy McTaggart so profoundly stated to Guilliatt, ” They reckon that the deeper into space you look, the further back in time you go. So when you’re looking at other galaxies you’re actually looking at light from a million years ago. It’s the big question, isn’t it: how did it all begin? Every religion was spawned on the basis of it.”

Australian Square Kilometre Array PathfinderPlease visit my web site for a wider selection of images from the  adventure –

‘Life, The Universe & Boolardy’ as feature in 12 October ’13 issue of The Weekend Australian Magazine can be viewed here:

Cheers, P

Inside Australia

I had the pleasure of photographing in the Eastern Goldfield’s of Western Australia a few weeks ago. Travelled to Lake Ballard near the town of Menzies, specifically to see first hand the remarkable sculptural installation by British artist Anthony Gormley. Titled ‘Inside Australia’ and consisting of 51 figurines spread out across the vastness of the salt lake, it’s an experiential work that compels the visitor to head out on to the salt flat and explore the figures. On the silvery-red flat pan, they drawn you further and further toward the horizon. A strangely hypnotic experience, all the more fascinating because of the silent beauty of the desolate landscape. Anthony Gormley's 'Inside Australia' sculpture, Lake Ballard Camping out at the lake’s edge under, lit by a luminous moon in a cloudless sky, I awoke before sunrise to venture out to meet the figurines before the sun’s first rays struck their metallic surfaces. Brilliant, and a lifelong memory in the bag. And what a potential setting for an outback thriller!Anthony Gormley's 'Inside Australia' sculpture, Lake Ballard

A journey through the Western Australian wheatbelt …

Well, it seems I never stop traveling. I’m constantly stopping off to have a respite at home base, then off to take a jaunt out to further fields for another journey … just the way I like it. Well, excuse the repetitive opener, but here I am in the Western Australian ‘wheatbelt’ region. And here I come across  – of all things – the BIG CAMERA … a photography museum, in the middle of nowhere (well, almost) – Meckering, an iddybiddy town in the heart of the wheatbelt and most famous for an earthquake in 1968 which incidently I  experienced although being 200 kms away in Perth. At that time my mother hurriedly ushered my brother and I out of the living room into the backyard to avoid possible death inside, only for her to then run back indoors to check on the safety of her crockery 🙂 Entirely logical.

All things aside, this journey a brief but thoroughly enjoyable short break with the kids. Here’s a couple snaps peeps … Ciao for now. P