Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Drought broken

For the last six months, or more, tracks and paddocks in this region have been turning into streams and lakes. Whilst apparently not record-breaking, it's the most persistent rain we've seen since moving to the area 13 years ago.

But, more importantly, I managed to get out into the studio on Sunday and knock out a painting: my first oil painting in over two years. Yes, the drought has broken.

Studio oil painting of Devils Slide Porongurups, by Andy Dolphin 
Devil's View
25x35cm oil on canvas board.  
© Andy Dolphin

Inspired by recent traverses into the nearby mountain ranges with my son, this scene begged to be painted the first time I saw it.

The large granite peak sits near the top of the walk to the Devil's Slide in the Porongurup Range. The northern view shows the Stirling Range on the horizon.

To give some indication of the size of the central boulder, the large dark green mass below it is a forest of karri, one of the world's tallest tree species.

In short, it's a big lump of rock.

This is a small 10"x14" painting on commercial canvas board, a surface I haven't painted on for years. I'm going to let it sit around for a while then possibly do a larger version of the same painting.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Frustrated bills

Another comical and somewhat surreal week in the finely-balanced Australian parliament as the government rolls itself on superannuation policy.

turnbull superannuation changes

Saturday, September 10, 2016

3D images from Google Maps

Bluff Knoll 2016 photo by Andy Dolphin

My son and I went up Bluff Knoll last weekend. It was my first trip to the top in about 30 years.

Today, I was  messing around with satellite images of the region on Google Maps and got to thinking that it might be possible to make static 3D images from it.

It is.

So here you go... 3D Bluff Knoll, in the Stirling Range National Park.

Bluff Knoll Stirling Range cross-eyed parallax 3d image
Click the image to view larger.

I've assembled these images to use the cross-eyed method of viewing as I find this works better for larger images. If I could find my old anaglyph (red-blue) glasses, I'd make an anaglyph version too.

To enjoy the 3D effect, stare at both images then slowly go cross-eyed. Relax your eyes and, whilst keeping them crossed, adjust your focus.

I found it easiest to focus by concentrating on the small white area on the path just below and slightly to the right of centre of each image. Try to get the double image to come together so you only see one copy of this spot then allow your eyes to focus. The 3D effect occurs as soon as you focus.

Some people find this easy to do and others, apparently, can never get it to work. Good luck.

If it works for you, then here's a bonus one of Perth CBD.

I've added a small yellow "X" at the bottom of the images to assist with the initial focus.

perth city cross-eyed parallax 3d image

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#nbnFail - fast internet even slower?

My apologies for all the political cartoons lately. If you're not into politics, then please bear with me while I get this out of my system.

It has been announced this week that our already-slow NBN is to be scaled back even further. This is apparently because, at a time when the rest of the world - even New Zealand!!! - is moving toward download speeds of 100Mbps (megabits per second) and higher, Australia, we are told, doesn't even need 25Mbps.

For people who require the internet to do business, this might prove a little bit frustrating. For people who thought this was going to be the "Innovation Nation", I can only assume this must be a little bit confusing.

#nbnbfail Australians to get slower nbn after cost blowouts

Friday, August 12, 2016

#CensusFail - the ABS explains

As the Census fiasco rolls on...


And with somewhere less than half the expected Census forms submitted a week after Census "Night", the saga seems set to continue for quite a while yet...

Hopefully I won't have to make too many more of these things (though there are more in my head).

...and another one...

a confluence of events CensusFail NBNFail cartoon

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#CensusFail 2016 - hashtag cloud

With the Australian Census now pretty much declared an international embarrassment, a farce, a fiasco and an exercise in unwarranted bravado, the larrikin in me couldn't help itself.

On Tuesday morning the ABS chief blamed the system failure on "an attack". On Tuesday afternoon we were advised by the minister responsible that it "wasn't an attack". On Thursday morning Malcolm Turnbull PM was again describing it as "an attack" and saying it was inevitable.

The graphic-artist-cum-cartoonist-cum-stirrer in me just had to make a hashtag cloud to sum up my view of the situation.

ABS 2016 Census #censusfail hashtag cloud

Maybe they'll have it up and running before the next Census is due in five years.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bluff Knoll Blizzard

Recently I've been learning a little about how to predict snow falls, especially in southern WA.

Snow is almost unheard of in this state but at 1095m above sea level, Bluff Knoll does enjoy a some light falls a few times a year.

I had been watching the weather charts all week and it was looking good for today and tomorrow. When I checked today's forecast this morning, it had possible snow drifts predicted for the Stirling Range this afternoon and evening.

My wife and I headed out to Bluff Knoll around 3pm. The sun was shining, the wind was light and there were clouds drifting across the top of Bluff Knoll. There was a definite chill in the air, but it was beautiful and serene.

I set my DSLR camera up on a tripod right next to my car so I could sit in relative warmth. I attached a timer cable and when I was done taking a few test shots, I looked up and there no more sunlight anywhere.

I set the timer to take one picture every five seconds and left it to shoot until the memory card was full.

Janet had "gone for a walk" and sent me a text message warning of some approaching dark clouds. The storm was soon with me and it hit with a vengeance. I was busy trying to tie the tripod down so it wouldn't blow over, as sleet whipped past me, piling up on the back window of the car, and soaking through my jacket and jeans.

Janet was "somewhere" on the walk trail, sheltering beside trees and basically getting soaked. She had a great time watching flurries of snow.

While I could only describe the weather I witnessed in the car park as "sleet" rather than "snow", there were people on top of the mountain and they most definitely enjoyed the real thing, even if it did arrive horizontally and and great speed. We met the brave souls before we packed up and they showed us photos of the snow on the ground. There was enough to make some snow balls.

The worst of the blizzard lasted around 15 minutes and quickly cleared. Soon after, the setting sun cast a warm glow over everything before ducking behind a cloud. Day soon turned to night, the camera's memory card was full and we packed up, dried ourselves off, chucked the heater on in the car and headed home.

Over 1 hour, 40 minutes the camera took just over 1500 photos. I used the images to create a one minute time-lapse video.