Back from Binna Burra

From Monday 24th July to Friday 28th July, a group of seven of us from the Canberra Photographic Society journeyed to Binna Burra, Lamington National Park, Southern Queensland:  Ulrike and Hugh, Alan, Luminita, Greg and Murray and Jools.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Gold Coast and Hinze Dam from Beechmont Rd by Greg Wei.

On our way to Binna Burra and the wilderness of Lamington National Park, we caught a glimpse of the distant Surface Paradise, spare and bizarre, like a distant giant petrified forest.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

View from Alcheringa, Monday evening by Murray Foote.

We stayed at the wonderful accommodation of Alcheringa, a house and associated cottage easy walking distance form the Binna Burra Lodge but not part of that complex.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

View from Alcheringa, early Thursday morning by Greg Wei.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

View from near Alcheringa, early Friday morning, by Luminita Quraishi.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Tree ferns and tree stump, Daves Creek Circuit by Alan Pomeroy.

On our first full day, we set off on the Dave’s Creek Circuit.  This is a 12km round trip but we made the mistake of walking to the car park, which added about another kilometre to the journey.  This passed though rainforest, eucalyptus forest and open heathland.  We all found that our fitness levels were not as good as we might have hoped, especially Hugh, whose bad back played up on him on the return journey.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Curious red flower beside track near Molongolee Cave, Daves Creek Circuit by Luminita Quraishi.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Xanthorrhea flower stalk and hakea branches, Daves Creek Circuit by Murray Foote.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Natural Bridge by Greg Wei.

After the exertions of the first full day, we decided on a quiet day for the second.  Ulrike and Hugh just relaxed at Alcheringa.  The rest of us went for a short walk on the Tallawallal Circuit (no images to show you here) and then for an afternoon drive to Natural Bridge at the edge of Springwood National Park.  We experienced subdued late afternoon light, which was fortunate for photographing the waterfall.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Natural Bridge and River by Murray Foote.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Huge tree left from river flood by Alan Pomeroy.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

On the Coomera Track by Luminita Quraishi.

On our last full day, Ulrike and Hugh went for a drive to Natural Bridge and Springwood National Park.  The rest of us undertook the 17.5km Coomera Circuit, with rainforest and many waterfalls along the Coomera River.  This was to be our most productive day.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Bahnamboola Falls, Coomera Circuit by Greg Wei.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Bahnamboola Falls, Coomera Circuit by Alan Pomeroy.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Below Bahnamboola Falls, Coomera Circuit by Luminita Quraishi.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Bahnamboola Falls, Coomera Circuit by Luminita Quraishi.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

At Moolgoolong Cascades by Greg Wei.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Below Moolgoolong Cascades by Alan Pomeroy.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Forest on the return track by Murray Foote.

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Binna Burra, Canberra Photographic Society, Landscape, Photography, Travel

Paragliders, North Tambourine, by Murray Foote.

On the last day we had to leave by 10am.  Ulrike and Hugh were driving their own car.  The rest of us were driving back to the airport in a hire car.  We had some extra time so we took some back roads and were fortunate enough to see these paragliders who had just taken off.

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Excursion to Binna Burra

The Canberra Photographic  Society is planning an excursion to Binna Burra, in Lamington National Park in Queensland, for three full days and four nights, arriving Monday 24th July and leaving in the morning of Friday 28th July.

This is a rainforest destination with Gondwanaland flora, wildlife, creeks and waterfalls and some great vistas.  There are lots of walks available ranging from short ones to long ones.  Here’s a PDF map of the walks.   Here’s a summary of the walks from the BinnaBurra Lodge site and here’s some more detailed information from Queensland National Parks.  Binna Burra means “where the Antarctic Beech trees grow” in the local Aboriginal language and the Lodge opened in 1933.

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Waterfall near Binna Burra, Infrared Colour Film, 10 Jan 1981.

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The main reason for the timing is that rainfall is low at this period.  It is also fairly cool, with mean temperatures ranging from 10°C to 23°C.  This also means there are no ticks or leeches.

The excursion is for financial members of the Canberra Photographic Society only (and their spouses).

There is a variety of accommodation available.

  • There are rooms in the lodge.  Casuarina rooms can be double or twin share and have shared bathroom facilities.  Acacia rooms can be queen, double or twin share and have ensuites and mountain or rainforest views.
  • There are sky lodges which are 1, 2 or 3 room apartments with king beds or twin share.  They are more modern and a better standard of accommodation and have impressive views.
    • The Photographic Society of Queensland recently booked a stay at Binna Burra and particularly wanted to be able to take advantage of the evening view from the Sky Lodges.
    • There is also the possibility of an extra person on a sofa bed in rooms and sky lodges.
  • Then there is camping.  You can have powered or unpowered sites or a Safari Tent for from 2 to 6 people which is provided with beds, vinyl floors, a fire pit and lighting but no power.  You can also hire linen for the safari tent.

There is also the possibility of hiring a conference room for a few hours to have a showing and discussion of photographs.

Camping costs are straightforward.  $28 per night for an unpowered site, $35 for powered and $105 for a safari tent, irrespective of the number of persons.

Room costs are more nebulous because we can book as a group and get a group discount and may all pay the same rate.  When I can tell them how many will be turning up, they will offer us some options and rates.  Ostensibly, a Casuarina room with two persons and breakfast and dinner included costs $130 per person per night, an Acacia room with two persons $185 and a 3-room sky lodge with 6 people $147.  It depends how many people we have and what we may receive as a group discount.  See update below.

There are two main ways to get there.  You can drive or you can fly.

  • Ride sharing might be a possibility for the drive option though it’s too long to do in one hit – probably around 12 hours.
  • Perhaps the most likely option is flying, to Brisbane or Gold Coast airports and Binna Burra Lodge will pick people up from those airports.  Canberra to Brisbane direct takes 1 hr 40 to 50 each way and costs from $321 return.   Canberra to Gold Coast takes 1 hr 30 to 40 each way if direct flights are available on that day and costs from $311 return.
    • Binna Burra Lodge will pick people up from either airport for a cost per person each way of between $175 (1 person) and $44 (4 persons), $49 (5 persons) or $41 (6 persons).
  • Going by train is a third option for pensioners, who can go free (though $10 for first class and maybe $100 for a sleeper).  Perhaps combined with a rental car.
    • The Lodge also picks people up from Nerang Station but the logistics of getting there from Canberra may be more trouble than it’s worth.  (Perhaps they’ll pick up from Brisbane Station too).

So the cost per person probably works out to between $900 and $1,230 for rooms and flying, less whatever discount we get.  (Of course, camping could be much cheaper).

In order to get the group discount, we need to have a group.  So please indicate if you are interested.  People can join later but may or may not get the group discount and the fewer who initially commit the less the discount will be.  Also, group rooms may be together which may not be possible for people joining later.

 

To reserve a place you will need to record the following details in a comment below or send me an email at zenophon@velocitynet.com.au .  Places are still available.  See update below.

  1. Name (singles) or Names (couples)
  2. Definite commitment or expression of interest
  3. Preference and availability for dates, whether that affects commitment and whether you prefer to include weekend dates
  4. Whether you prefer a room or intend to be camping and any preferences you have in either respect.

Even if you send an email, please record your name(s) in a comment below.  This will facilitate group discussions later on.

Update (28 March)

A group of us are going and most of us are staying in a four-bedroom house near the Binna Burra Lodge, Alcheringa.  This appears to offer more spacious and better quality accommodation than the sky lodges and at better value.

Currently we still have space for up to an additional two singles or a couple.  Cost will be $105 per person per night for one single or $200 for two singles or a couple.

Excursions to National Gallery of Australia

There will be two excursions to the National Gallery of Australia as part of our July theme The Art of the Print:

  • Sunday 24th July, 11am
  • Monday 25th July, 11am

We will meet at the main entrance on the lower ground floor (not the old main entrance on the first floor).  (The excursion on Sunday is for those who are working and the Monday one is for those who are not working because it is likely to be less crowded then).

There is an exhibition (American Portraits) of prints by Diane Arbus together with prints from several other socially incisive American portrait and street photographers in related veins, including Weegee, Walker Evans and Garry Winogrand.  It is on the second floor.  Diane Arbus said “the subject of the picture is more important than the picture” and yet was critically concerned with the presentation of her prints.

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Identical twins Cathleen and Colleen Wade, spotted by Arbus at a Christmas party for twins and triplets.

Just outside the exhibition there are a few nineteenth century Siamese prints at one end and at the other some surrealist images including one by André Kertész.  There are many other photographs scattered through the gallery on the first floor.  There is a whole wall of images including one by Max Dupain.  There are some photographic prints at the back of the “Black” exhibit in a far corner including one by Ansell Adams.  There are also photographic prints throughout the gallery presented as Art, so that you can only be sure they are photographs by looking closely at the labels.

So let us make this a collaborative learning experience.  As we wander round in small groups, we can discuss topics such as which prints impress us, what we see in them, what ideas they invoke,  how the printing contributes to the aesthetic and what ideas the prints give us for our own images and printing.

Then at 1pm we can gather in the Cafeteria in the lower ground floor for nibbles and conversation.

(The Gallery also currently has a (non-photographic) exhibition by Fiona Hall, Wrong Way Time, but this closes on July 10, well before our visits.)

 

 

Excursion to Point Hicks

The Canberra Photographic  Society is planning an excursion to Point Hicks Lighthouse where we can stay in the lighthouse cottages.  Point Hicks is in Victoria at the end of a road from Cann River, about 4½ hours drive from Canberra.  The excursion will be for three full days and the tentative date is for the nights of 11th to 14th November, arriving on the night of Friday 11th November and leaving on the morning of Tuesday 15th November.  Final dates will depend on preferences of participants and what dates are available at time of booking.

The excursion is for financial members of the Canberra Photographic Society only (and their spouses).

Food, drinks and linen are not supplied.  Linen can be supplied for a $15 fee but they prefer not to do this.  There will be no wifi and some phone coverage at a few places.  A washing machine is available at $4 per load though probably no-one will need this.  There are fireplaces and wood in the cottages and bungalow.

Camping is also available at Thurra River, about three kilometres from the lighthouse.

Point Hicks is the tallest lighthouse in Australia, with a tower 150 feet high, and we will be able to enter the lighthouse.  There is a wreck a little way south of the lighthouse, there are large sand dunes nearby and there are two three-man canoes available for hire for use in the Mueller River, about four kilometres from the lighthouse.  If we are lucky we may see dolphins, seals, whales, wombats, goannas and a variety of birds.

Here are some links with more information :

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Looking down Point Hicks stairwell to Keeper on pulley, 17 July 1987
Arca-Swiss 5×4″ monorail camera. 90mm Schneider Super Angulon, Fujichrome 50

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Cost will depend on how many people go and how many dwellings we use.  There are two cottages and a bungalow.  Each cottage has a double bedroom, a twin bedroom and a bunk room with four bunks (each 1.9 metres long).  Cottage #1 also has a second bunk room.  The bungalow has a double room and an outside toilet.  All have cooking facilities and equipment.

That makes a total of 22 people but we will probably limit numbers to two per bunk room for a total of 16.

At up to 16 people, depending on numbers, costs per person for four nights range from $245 to $350 for double room, $200 to $280 for twin room and $127 to $173 for a bunk.  The bungalow is $480.

However, for standard rate December, January and long weekends, costs per person for four nights range from $238 to $390 for double room, $185 to $310 for twin room and $129 to $205 for a bunk.  The bungalow is $560.

The default date is for four nights starting Friday 11th November, for which both cottages and the bungalow are currently available (if the website is accurate).  We have booked Cottage #1 and the Bungalow.  We are still able to book Cottage #2 if we have a couple to take the double room and in that case, berths may be availoable there.

  • Other possible dates with both cottages and the bungalow available are for weekends starting Friday 2 December*, 27 Jan*, 3 Feb, 17 Feb, 24 Feb, 3 March, 17 March and 24 March.
  • Possible dates with Cottage #2 only and the bungalow are weekends starting Friday 15 October, 18 November and 10 March*
  • Possible date with both cottages (but not bungalow) is 20 Jan*
  • Dates with asterisk are at higher “standard” rate.

Beds will be allocated on a first-come first served basis.  Couples will have priority for double and twin rooms.  Bunks will only be available if double and twin rooms are full.  Default order of preference for rooms is as follows:

  • Couples:
    1. Double room
    2. Bungalow (outside toilet)
    3. Twin room
    4. Bunk
  • Singles:
    1. Twin Room
    2. Bunk

Reservations must be final, at least by midnight on the night of Thursday 9th June You commit to paying a 50% deposit in early June and if the default date is available, the remaining 50% in early October.  You must pay the full amount which can be refunded only if someone can take your place.  (Note:  I expect to be travelling between 14th August and 7th October, so I may not be very responsive to emails in that time).

You can record an expression of interest or commit to requesting a berth later than that.  Additional beds may be allocated if available and we might later be able to rent a second cottage or the bungalow if there is sufficient delayed interest and they are still available.

Final payments (in October) will be adjusted for any later participants so the amount may differ from the initial deposit (potentially probably less).

To reserve a place you will need to record the following details in a comment below or send me an email at zenophon@velocitynet.com.au :

  1. Name (singles) or Names (couples)
  2. Definite commitment or expression of interest
  3. Preference and availability for dates and whether that affects commitment
  4. Whether you accept the default order of preference for rooms, or else your preference
  5. Alternatively, whether you intend to be camping (you can arrange that yourself through the Camping link above when dates are finalised)

Even if you send an email, please record your name(s) in a comment below.  This will facilitate group discussions later on.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands Map

Last Tuesday night Dave Basset and Brian Jones explained the techniques of bird photography and showed series of impressive images from in and around Canberra.  Many of them were from the inner-city Jerrabomberra Wetlands.  Here is a map so you can explore the opportunities:

Jerrabomberra wetlands

You will need to click on it to view it full size and read the details.

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Also, for those who might be contemplating such lenses, here is a link to a review just posted from Photography Life comparing Nikon 200-500mm vs Tamron 150-600mm vs Sigma 150-600mm.

Any takers for a trip to South Australia?

I have signed up for a four-day photographic workshop at Boolcoomatta Reserve, which is a Bush Heritage Australia property.  The workshop is run by Boris Hlavica and costs $500.  It involves bringing your own food, drinks, bedding and towels and staying in twin-share shearing quarters with shared bathrooms and toilets.  I have several seats available in my Subaru Outback station wagon.  It is around 12 hours drive, two days for one person, perhaps one day with driver rotation.  There could also be a day in nearby Broken Hill and environs.

Please contact me if you may be interested, either by email or with a comment to this post.