Leica Virgin – Australia

I had the good fortune to head home to Australia for a few weeks back in January.

It feels nice to write the word ‘home’ again as Australia hadn’t felt like home for a few years. It’s hard when you leave under difficult circumstances, even when they’re of your own making. The notion of ‘home’ becomes a bit blurry.

Of course, I still have fond memories of Tasmania and my people there, but my life – my home – isn’t there anymore. I haven’t lived in Melbourne since the mid-1990’s and it’s become so big and unfamiliar now. I’m spending more time in Brisbane each time I go back, though, and it’s a beautiful city.

This was a quick trip – two weeks in total, evenly split between my family in Melbourne and my friends in ‘Brisvagas’.

Much of my photography on this trip was done with a Fujifilm Instax camera. I wanted photos of family and friends to stick on my wall here in Angelholm.

The Instax was heaps of fun and I had a pretty good hit rate with it, too. The cameras are cheap (the film, not so much) and everyone still gets a kick out of watching the image materialise in front of their eyes. It makes photography fun and social instead of intimidating. Highly recommended.

Of course, I took the little Leica, too.

Here’s a sample of the places and people I saw. Well, some of them, at least.

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Family

It was Mum’s birthday while I was in Melbourne so we had her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids assembled for a BBQ and cake.

We’ve just welcomed two new bubs into the family – two new great-nieces for me! – and it was great to meet them, even if they’ll never remember a thing about it.

The three older kids are really developing into little personalities now and it was great to play with them and see them laughing together.

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Brisbane

I took a day to walk around Brisbane to catch a few views and get more familiar with the place that’s more-likely-than-not to eventually become my new home in Australia.

A few cityscapes first….

Australia is rich with wildlife and it’s interesting, as a Victorian/Tasmanian to visit a more tropical state and see the vastly different flora and fauna.

You can see a lot of amazing wildlife in Tasmania, but you don’t generally see lizards like this in gardens, hiding in plain sight.

The Ibis looks pretty exotic for a bird, but given the number you see hanging around everywhere, they don’t come across as exotic at all. Friends in the city call them “bin chickens”. I love that name.

Some shots from the botanical gardens:

I love the way this camera does colours…..

Another lizard…..

Spot the bee…..

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Out and About

Following are some sights that I stumbled across while wandering around Brisbane.

Brisbane’s big enough to be a city but it still feels a little bit country. It’s like Hobart on steroids, but with much warmer weather.

It’s easy to relax there. The temperature’s warm, the skies are generally either a brilliant blue or dark grey, heavy with a LOT of rain. When it rains in Brisbane, it pours, and you can see the flood markers on different buildings around town that commemorate those times when it’s rained a little too much.

That didn’t happen while I was there, though. It was simply stunning.

I spotted this hidden cafe in an alley, at the bottom of the stairs.

Shipping-container-turned-burger-joint….

An old church in the city center:

I spotted this gym rat taking an occasional break and checking out the view from the top-floor window. I had to wait for a while to get him again, but I did.

Speaking of taking a break….

A few more city sights:

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A Day In The Country

I spent a wonderful day in country Victoria while I was there. A friend had just moved to a new place so I drove down and she showed me around a bit. Gippsland has long been one of my favourite parts of the state and the bit where Rach lives, near the Yarra Ranges, is just stunning.

A retired school principal named Laurie Collins runs a sculpture workshop in a town called Jindivick. He works mostly with recycled metal, drafting in other materials as needed. Laurie has a gallery on site where local artists display their work (the exhibition space is booked out until late 2019!) and his garden is a like a mini sculpture park.

Laurie offered to make me something while I was there. He uses a plasma cutter to cut the sheet steel and then smoothes it all off with a grinder. I got him to make me a little caricature of Snoopy. We had to look it up on Google Images and he sketched it right there in front of us and cut it out. Perfect.

Blokes and sheds. I love it!

I was also mighty happy with how the little Leica captured these shots of Laurie at work.

Lunch was at the Noojee pub, which was as great as it looks. What a place!

I missed focus on this shot, but who cares?!

And from there, a trip to Toorongo Falls, where you can do a short hour-long walk and see several stunning waterfalls in the forest.

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This was my first time travelling with the Leica as my only camera. Up until this trip, I’ve typically carried a much heavier Nikon camera with three or four lenses. I took the Nikon to Nevada, for example, even though I ended up using the Leica 95% of the time. How would I cope with just one 35mm lens and no backup plan?

Truth be told, I didn’t miss the Nikon at all.

I love my Nikon. I use it for work and I’ve got some amazing shots with it over the years. Its time might be up soon, though. I’m sick of the bulk and I recently bought a Fujifilm X-T2, which purportedly can do nearly everything the Nikon can do but at a much smaller size. We’ll see.

Back to this trip, though, where the Leica was sooooooo satisfying to use. Giving yourself permission to take some time and compose a shot, grab focus, wait for the light, wait for people to move in/out of shot, to consider your exposure – it’s a wonderful thing.

This is an odd collection of images, I know. There’s no real theme in there except shoot-shoot-shoot. I hope they brought some enjoyment, though.

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7 Comments

  1. Beautiful images of a beautiful country that I’d love to someday visit, Swade. Your eye for composition is exquisite.

  2. Can’t think of a better use for a big flat wall. Nice lot of family and friends you have there. I’m sure you miss them. The wall looks like a great way to keep them close to heart.

  3. I am so impressed that you made the big move to a totally different country with its vastly different culture and traditions. Have you picked up much Swedish yet? I’m just honoured to have ‘known’ you since the old days of Trollhätten Saab then SaabsUnited. Your passion for everything Saab have been funnelled into photography which you are ratgerbgood at I have to say. All the very best.

  4. The wall of family shots was a really nice idea. That first botanical gardens shot is a beaut!

  5. I have not been to your site for a while, Swade. I used to follow Saabsunited and Inside Saab. Life and work got busy, but I cast my mind back to your website to day and decided to have a look.

    I’m sorry to read that you have been through hard times.

    Your photography is as simply stunning as ever and the Leica shots are phenomenal. Of course much of it is, though, down to the eye of the photographer and the composition and you have that spot on.

    Interesting experience with the instamax. I have just recently returned to shooting film, albeit on an SLR rather than a camera that develops its pics. Having a lot of fun, also sharing it with my teenage son, for whom the experience is entirely new.