moon gum tree silhouette

Moving pictures – the Ken Burns Effect

This is the video trailer for my upcoming novel In Your Sights. I used a technique known as the Ken Burns Effect, in which panning and zooming are applied to still images in order to give the impression of movement. Very simple, but very effective. You often see it in TV documentaries, such as when the camera zooms in on one face in a group of people in an old photo.

BTW, be sure you have the sound on. I spent hours trawling through stock music sites to find a piece that I thought might work (and did not cost very much!). Do you think it gives an impression of tension and suspense?

Two of the photos in the video are not mine, they are from a stock photo site. Care to guess which two shots?

If the embedded video does not work, you can view it on YouTube.

Roger Brun champagne bottles

Bubble Babe

The Daily Prompt says: If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?
Oh, this is too easy! There’s a reason they call me Bubble Babe …

(click any photo to expand the gallery)

PS: I see that the other posts for this Daily Prompt are written. This is my first foray into the Daily Prompt. Is it meant to have a written response? Oops. Perhaps I should have read the fine print?

royal albert tea cups

One lump or two?

Ah, afternoon tea! It makes me want to put on a posh English accent, and perhaps ride to hounds. This is afternoon tea at the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in downtown Sydney. Check out the chandeliers: installed in January this year, they apparently cost A$900,000. As this article says, that’s a lot of tea and scones. (BTW, contrary to the impression these photos give, the room was quite full.)

(Apologies for the quality of these images. I didn’t have my ‘real’ camera, and was limited to what I could do in the way of lighting, focus, and processing.)

Kuranda station signals

Travel Album: A train ride into the past

Bench Kuranda railway tracks wheels

The Kuranda Scenic Railway

This bench made from old railway tracks and wheels is a reminder of the important role played by the railway in the existence of Kuranda, a village northwest of Cairns, in Queensland, Australia.

(click any image to view the gallery of larger images)

The site of the village was first surveyed by Europeans in 1888. Completion of a railway from Cairns on the coast led to trade and people moving over the Macalister Range. Coffee was grown until severe frosts in the early 1900s wiped out the harvest. After a significant military presence in the area during World War II, tourism became the primary money earner.

A popular way to visit Kuranda from Cairns on a day trip is to take the skyrail one way and the train the other.
Construction of the railway began in 1882 and was completed to Kuranda in 1891. Fifteen tunnels were dug by hand through stone and 37 bridges were erected over ravines to allow the railway to climb from sea level to Kuranda’s elevation of 328 metres (1,076 feet). Passenger services began on 25 June 1891. The first dedicated tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda ran in 1936.

Known now as The Kuranda Scenic Railway, today’s train takes 90 minutes to cover the 34 km (21 miles), passing spectacular waterfalls and providing stunning views of the lush rainforest. The KSR uses carriages that hearken back to an earlier era of train travel, with wooden panelling and windows you can open. It is indeed a relic of an almost forgotten time.

And finally, this photo has nothing to do with history or relics — it’s one of those spectacular waterfalls I mentioned. I shot this from the train as we passed.

waterfall Kuranda Scenic Railway

Information about Kuranda and the Scenic Railway taken from:



Man-eating orchid poised to strike

orchid shadow candle
I was given this miniature orchid almost exactly two years ago, for a birthday present. I’d never had an orchid before, and didn’t especially want this one. But it is a fascinating plant! I call it the man-eating orchid because of those air roots, which twist and twine, throwing grotesque shadows when illuminated by candle light. As you can see, though, it has lovely, delicate flowers, which last for weeks. This year, it presented me with a second flower stalk.

You can see a rather different shot of the same plant from August 2013 here.