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One of Us #71: Brandy

svjetlana View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 April 2023 at 16:43
One of Us #71:Brandy

Dyxum member Brandy writes...

When an invitation like this to become 'one of us' arrived totally unexpected out of the blue from Svjetlana my first reaction was to obviously feel very honoured and also very humbled quickly followed by almost a mild sense of panic. Could I in fact do this, well I guess I'm just about to find out!

First a little historical background. I was born in the UK in the Yorkshire dales towards the end of WW2.

I had a great childhood roaming freely around the countryside before being shipped off to boarding school at the age of eight which is a great way to learn self sufficiency in a hurry! Then on to London University where I surprised myself by getting a B.Sc Hons upper second. Not a bad place to be to spend four years in the 'swinging sixties'. By then I had met Pam, my wife to be who has been with me for the past fifty seven years through thick and thin. We eloped to Australia in 1966 as ten pound poms [look it up] where I had a job with the CSIRO first in Sydney, then Hobart before finally settling near Melbourne and then going into a more lucrative consultancy role. We were fortunate to be blessed with two lovely daughters who are now in their fifties and who between them gave us three grandsons and two granddaughters. If I'd known how much joy they were going to bring I'd have had them first!! I was fortunate to be able to retire at the age of fifty and have spent the last thirty years traveling and helping raise said grand children. Our taxi service is renowned far and wide I might add. Now comes the hard part.....

The above image is my father's car in the winter of 1947 and although I wasn't aware of the concept of time at the tender age of three I'm quite sure it wasn't much later before I realized that yes you could literally freeze such a moment. These 'frozen' moments have become increasingly important to me as I have aged and with their help I can remember precisely the surrounds sounds and almost smells.

This image of my father in his surgery was I think the very first photograph I ever took using his Kodak camera. He wanted a natural shot to send to his parents and I remember being very proud to be asked. My father had gone through the war as a ships surgeon in the Royal Navy and his ideal holiday was to get back on the water in any way possible. I clearly remember freezing on the royal mailboat the 'Claymore' leaving Oban on the west coast of Scotland and being bored silly as we sailed round the Hebrides. However once home I eagerly awaited the arrival of the little plastic boxes of thirty six Kodak slides and helping select the one hundred or so that would go into the projectors carousel for the inevitable family slide show. Without knowing it I was probably picking up some quite useful information learning the basics of composition etc. My father would shoot at all sorts of angles particularly liking to get down low and try to be just that little bit different from other family and friends who would also insist that we sit through their holiday epics. Strangely whereas my brother hated these events I really have always enjoyed looking at these moments frozen in time.

So here I am following in his footsteps but as a videographer.
I've travelled widely over the years from hitch hiking as a teenager around Italy and the south of France to work related trips to the USA, Japan, Korea, and Asia in general so I have all the requisite shots of Yosemite, the Tetons, Lake Tahoe and so on. While typing this it just brought back a lovely memory of camping by Jenny lake with the Tetons in the background when I was spending three months at the University of Idaho, Moscow in 1972. Don't get me started on Berkley the same year, they were great times! Anyway all these slides are hidden away in boxes under our stair well probably never again to see the light of day. Another photograph I just came across was of me on top of the leaning tower at Pisa, not sure if you would even be able to do that these days, if that's the case I'll claim photographic bragging rights with a great moment to show my grandchildren!
Anyway I digress as my thoughts run wild down memory lane. Back to movie making which was my main photographic interest for many years particularly when my children were young. Nothing like the excited shrieks at a birthday party, somehow a photograph didn't have the same impact. I spent hours cutting and splicing super eight three minute spools to make an hour long show. When HD came along I was in heaven. Shooting with Canon then. I've never been big on photo editing for Dyxum, just the basic DxO defaults but paradoxically it was the movie editing I really enjoyed starting with a program by Canopus called Edius I think, long gone now. The same with my photographs, I used a program by Photodex called Proshow producer, again long gone, but I just loved the fancy effects you could add to a single shot as well as voice over and music.


Ooops sorry I should have at least used the same photo but you get the idea. Flying by the seat of my pants here! I think the reason I took this route was the fact that while I had great visual memories from my own childhood I had no memories of my parents voices. How times have changed. So now to Dyxum....


Actually it isn't, it's my grandson's dog Samweis or just plain Sam taken a couple of days ago but he could be a "Brandy" clone. I came to Dyxum in October 2008 just over a week after Brany died. When I showed my two daughters the forum with all these weird names and said that I was thinking of joining and if I did what name should I go under they said in unison "Brandy" so here she lives on. I have to admit I've sometimes regretted the choice, my girls sent us on a balloon flight for my sixtieth birthday and I think "Go Wild" would have been far more appropriate!

In 2009 this little bundle of joy arrived and has subsequently become my favourite, she's a natural, loves the camera and needs no direction. Taken with A350.

Her early portrait at the age of three won me a prize in a high key competition.

All I've ever posted here have been birds, preferably in flight, or other action shots of surfing,sporting events etc. Iv'e done quite a few portraits but posted very few. I'm trying to quickly find shots that I haven't posted before but forgive me if i Have overlapped.
My youngest granddaughter is just the reverse, she will pose with her cousin who she looks up to. 'Do you want to know a secret'.

Note she's purloined her cousins hat here but to get her to pose alone requires her cousins presence or bribery by Nana!

I've driven around Australia five times now - approximately 20000km and five to six months per trip and yet have never posted any landscapes from my travels. Maybe I should rectify this.

It's the sheer size of the country, the variation in climate and sense of timelessness that I find so awe inspiring. The above shot of the Fitsroy river at Geikie gorge shows the bleaching of the rock in the monsoonal wet season a vast amount of water which I think from memory is only topped by the Amazon. This year was a major flood and the main highway and bridges that it destroyed will take months to repair.

Trephina gorge in cental Australia and yes the colours are true. The memory here were of hundreds of budgerigars having a drink [on video] and a very cold swim. On the way to the above we had passed through the 'Breakaways' in SA and the 'Painted desert' both of which were a photographers delight.

In my travels I've traversed some of the more difficult terrain such as Cape York, the Tanami track and here just about to cross the Pentecost river with the Cockburn ranges in the background on the Gibb river road.

This track was rough, but I believe it's being sealed slowly from each end which will totally ruin the experience, that's progress I guess. And here at the western end of the GRR a trip into Tunnel creek which was quite an experience. The tunnel goes for about 800 meters with only this one break where the roof has fallen in. I waded in with just a torch and camera, waist deep in parts and I don't think I've ever felt so alone. Pam wisely stayed in the car as she'd read the cave contained eels, large pythons which fed off the bats and crocodiles [freshwater crocs, not dangerous unless you happen to stand on one!].

Emerging at Broome on the Indian ocean it was then a coastline of beautifully coloured rocks.

And just inland from Port Headland the gorges of the Pilbara, again quite difficult access in parts, I certainly couldn't do it now!! Here in the Hancock gorge you literally had to put a foot on each wall and inch your way along.

Before coming out at the Handrail pool where fortunately some kind soul had tied a rope to help you down the last couple of meters or so. It was then a case of swim, bitterly cold, or clamber round the edge. Neither option exactly safe when carrying a camera but so far I haven't lost one!!

And a little further south at Kalbarri, the Natural arch.

Along the way I've met some really interesting people and have had some incredibly weird coincidences when I've met a stranger by a campfire in the middle of nowhere only to find we had a close friend in common. This has happened more than once. Spooky.

Pam calls me 'Avachat' and here I was regaled for about an hour on the merits of 'heavy horses' and the history of Lake Cargelligo where we happened to be. Similarly this lady educated me on the history of steam as a power source...

And also along the way I've been able to free a few bogged vehicles or in this case help out a stranded group whose car was caput on a cancer charity run. They were on the far side of the Burdekin dam and needed a tow. I was rewarded with 2kg of peanuts which kept us in nibbles for quite some time!!

And that reminded me that I used to take a lot of panoramas with my A99 and now have to stitch them which I rarely do. I would have thought Sony would have kept this capability... The Burdekin dam and river.

Although I've won a few prizes along the way I think my biggest thrill was getting an email from the British Museum to say that I'd been shortlisted in the World Wildlife photographer of the year award out of several thousand entries. The photos were nothing special just a question of being in the right place at the right time and being most unusual if not in fact unique. They were very difficult to edit with my limited skills and I remember enlisting Josiau to help with this. I recently gave them a makeover using ON1RAW and what a vast improvement a bit of AI makes, a pity it wasn't available all those years ago!! This was the over sharpened original.

Since I joined Dyxum in 2008 I thought I'd have a look at a folder of that vintage and saw that all my bird shots had this Helicon frame which had all the EXIF information and which I really liked but which now I'm too lazy to bother with. All taken with my A350 and a note inserted that I got the information about Helicon and some sharpening tips from Brian. I vaguely think that might have been bms Brian. If so thanks.

A big thankyou was also due to Frankman who helped me a lot in those early days. He was in Perth and we would speak on Sunday nights when the phone calls were cheaper. brettania was of course the other great help for his support and useful comments. The Michele of his era.... What happened to all the action shots you might ask

Sorry but I ran out of space and time. One thing this exercise has done is make me realize just how many unedited RAW files I have, must do.
If you've struggled through all this verbosity then thank you from a very humbled Brandy AKA Sam or Go Wild....

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Harm vb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Harm vb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2023 at 18:41
Nice story!
Indeed a pity not to show us your photographs from Australia.
Harm, with A7iv+A7iii plus 12-400mm glass.
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Jozioau View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2023 at 07:02
Peter, a well deserved inclusion to ‘One of Us’ and most interesting to read something of your life story, and appreciate the so far unfamiliar illustrations.
I really enjoyed connecting up in relation to your remarkable platypus and pied cormorant symbiosis photos that went on to be recognized in that year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition award winners.
It is very hard to hone down the image selection to fit this series, so we are missing your masterful birds in flight photos. But we are all familiar with them as they feature regularly in our exhibitions and competitions.
Congratulations, and looking forward to lots more from you.
"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" - Henri Cartier-Bresson
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dogears View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dogears Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 April 2023 at 14:18
Very nice story and lovely photos. Well deserved. Congratulations!
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Dopol View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2023 at 15:35
Wonderful read. And good to see your 'other' photograph side.
And the fantastic adventures you managed to capture (Platypus as one example)
Well-deserved inclusion to OoU...
And then it even didn't include your thirsty swallows.
Thanks for sharing your story.

Edited by Dopol - 21 April 2023 at 10:44
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken
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Andy81 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Andy81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2023 at 19:13
Thanks for sharing, really interesting!

I must admit I thought there had been a mixup when I couldn't find many photos of birds, but it's great to see some of your other images as well. Keep posting!

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