Into the blue by Mario Mirabile

Early autumn is my favourite time of year.  Even though March has been unusually warm and humid, the weather - at least for a week or two - managed to right itself and deliver what was expected. The mornings have been crisp, the days warm and the evenings balmy. The sky has a special saturation not seen in the harsh light of high summer or the dreary days of winter, and even in the middle of the day the light seems gentle. Calm winds allow interesting high level cloud patterns to form and linger. 

Unfortunately, this idyllic period appears to have already passed, with rain and storms now the order of the day. But it was good while it lasted.

Coasting by Mario Mirabile

No visit to Victoria's south-west is complete without a trip down the Great Ocean Road to the Shipwreck Coast. Aptly named, this wild strip of coastline between Warrnambool and Cape Otway saw more than its fair share of disaster and heartbreak during the era of sail. These days, the towering cliffs, sea stacks and tiny inlets draw tourists from all over the world to marvel at its rugged beauty.

Rain, rain go away by Mario Mirabile

Having got some outstanding jobs out of the way, I'm finally starting to look through a few of the pictures from my trip to Apollo Bay. As it's been unseasonably warm, humid and wet in Melbourne, it seemed appropriate to start with some images of the Otway rainforest.

Rainforest is a word that most people wouldn't associate with Victoria, but the Great Otway National Park includes several large areas of pristine temperate rainforest. The high hills of the Otway ranges which run right down to the shores of the southern Ocean create a wet and humid environment which promotes lush growth of trees, ferns and fungi. Even the streams and rivers flow year round. It's a beautiful area, and even with the hordes of tourists who flock to the scenic wonders of the Great Ocean Road and Shipwreck Coast not far away, the rainforest seems quiet and peaceful.

Many moods by Mario Mirabile

I have no idea what happens to all my time. I've been back from my seaside sojourn for nearly two weeks and I've barely scratched the surface of the task of looking through the photos I brought back (let alone the ones I've taken since...). As usual, I'm my own hardest critic as I flick through the hundreds of frames looking for gold, and I can't seem to find anything I'm really pleased with.

I'll start with a few which show the moods of the sea and reflect the weather over the week we were at Apollo Bay. Dark and brooding storms, placid  balmy days, majestic curling surf and golden dawns provided something different every day. Nothing like a bit of variety to keep things interesting. 

Small things by Mario Mirabile

I'm taking a week off next week and heading down the west coast. I'm looking forward to beautiful light and broad vistas, but whatever the weather brings it will be good to get away for a few days. I've been very busy trying to wrap up some things at work before heading off, so I haven't been out and about much at lunchtime. Perhaps its just over-familiarity with the places I've been able to get to, but my attention has been caught mainly by small details rather than large on the few short outings I've managed.

I'm not really looking for anything in particular, and sometimes it's the strangest things that catch my eye. Mundane objects like a rusty old lock poking out from a seemingly plain background take on new dimensions as I play with angle and focus. It really doesn't take much to keep me entertained. 

Hot stuff by Mario Mirabile

Summer has finally arrived in Melbourne. This week has seen temperature consistently climb into the high 30s, and the nights remain sultry and uncomfortable. The accompanying dry northerlies have helped make things even more unpleasant. As such, it's easier to just stay in the air-conditioned comfort of the office rather than go wandering looking for photographic gems at lunchtime. But today I decided enough was enough, so I braved the heat and went for a walk.

To be honest, I didn't get very far. Even so, it's possible turn up new and interesting bits and pieces, even on well trodden trails. Abstract bits of steel in building signage, the  wacky geometry of reflected buildings and shadowy breezeways all take on a new perspective if you look hard enough. And all found within a couple of hundred metres of the office front entrance and air-conditioned relief.

Everybody's got to work by Mario Mirabile

January  has come to an end, and with it the summer holiday period. The post-Christmas lull when things are a bit more relaxed seems to be getting shorter each year. Now, everything seems to get into full swing almost from Boxing Day, when the stores clear out their excess inventory and try to pretend that you're getting a bargain. I can remember when absolutely nothing seemed to happen through the whole of January, and the Australia Day holiday marked the point when thing started ramping up.

But now Christmas is a distant memory, so there's no excused for slacking off. Even the school year has started and once again students are hogging the best seats on the commuter trains. As the title of this post (taken from an 80s Uncanny X-Men song) proclaims, it's time to get to work. Whether that entails peering into holes, strenuously propping up a sign while having a smoke, or looking cool while making coffee doesn't really matter. Just get the job done and look forward to your next holiday.

To market, to market.... by Mario Mirabile

The Queen Victoria Market has been operating on the same site on the northern fringe of the Melbourne CBD since 1878. It's the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere, and a popular shopping destination. But it seems that providing a huge selection of food and variety goods isn't enough of a rationale for its existence any more, and the operators keep looking for ways to increase the number of visitors, and no doubt the income it generates.

One such way is a series of night markets, with both winter and a summer seasons. While some of the variety stalls operate during these sessions, the fruit & veg, meat, fish and deli operators are all absent. The main focus seems to be yet another excuse to set up an almost endless series of food stalls, together with a scattering of entertainers. While this attracts large crowds eager to sample authentic (perhaps...) ethnic delicacies, it's not the reason I make the trip occasionally. I'm much more interested in the visitors and the traders. They're much less fattening, as well.

The year that was by Mario Mirabile

2016 has been interesting year for me in photography. No doubt the highlight was our trip to Italy and Ireland in the middle of the year, the results of which I'll probably be picking through for years to come. Otherwise, inspiration has waxed and waned as usual. I find myself shooting as much as ever, but processing far fewer images. I think I've become far more critical of myself. Images I would have been very happy with just a couple of years ago now just don't do it for me. Still, I have produced many images I'm quite happy with. It's been very much a case of making my way through the valleys to reach a few bright peaks

To start the year I'll post few images selected from a quick review of my pictures from 2016. Not necessarily the best - whatever that might be just ones that appeal to me. None have been posted here before, so hopefully you enjoy seeing something new. I'll also be going through my portfolio pages over the next few days as I don't think I've freshened them since this time last year, and I plan to post a couple of galleries from our trip.

Here's hoping that 2017 is a good year for you. 

Rise and shine by Mario Mirabile

I spent Christmas with family in South Gippsland. It's a very pretty part of Victoria, with rolling hills running down to pristine beaches, and of course the spectacular Wilsons Promontory National Park. Christmas Day was very pleasant, and by the end I was glad to collapse into bed exhausted. Not due to the celebrations of the day in particular, but by the cumulative fatigue of weeks of festivities leading up to Christmas. I would have been happy to sleep all day, but was woken at some ungodly hour with instructions to look out the window, which has panoramic views of the Prom. The light show was spectacular enough to get me up and shooting, but at least the sun finally came up and dispelled the colour, so I was able to go back to bed. At least it was more entertaining than waiting in a queue for the stores to open in order to snare the best Boxing Day sales bargains.

The next day I was determined to sleep through the dawn, but was woken by an odd dream and was unable to get back to sleep. With nothing to lose, I roused my host and we headed out through the rolling hills looking for light. Thankfully, we found some, but as a result I'm now in sleep catch-up mode again. I guess that will have to wait till I get back to work.

Christmas greetings by Mario Mirabile

The year is drawing to a close and once again the Christmas season of festivities and celebration is upon us. Whether you celebrate Christmas in its original Christian sense, or merely in its modern secular incarnation, I wish you and your families all the best. May your Christmas be a peaceful and joyous one.

Drawing a blank by Mario Mirabile

These two images were taken under completely different circumstances a couple of days apart. Despite some obvious similarities in theme and composition, I haven't been able to construct a coherent narrative to link them. So, I'll simply present them and let you write your own narrative. Or not.