Monday, December 20, 2010

ACP Student Exhibition - Part 2

So what photo was exhibited???

If you have had a chance to review the photos below, you may have your favourite, but this is the one the judges chose to display - complete with a proud photographer.

Whether you love it, hate it, or feel one of the others is better, I received a lot of complements on the night and I am pretty proud of my achievement. And now I can share it.

A few fellow students felt it deserved one of the three prizes on offer, but unfortunately wasn't to be. I overheard one person saying "This photo is very impressive. Much more artistic merit". What the?? That surprised me. Like all art, it is highly subjective, and for me, the fact that I got selected to display at all was reward enough. My other 2 submitted photos were displayed on a slideshow screen also in the gallery, so that was nice too.

I felt there were a significant number of great photos on display, and a lot of obvious talent among the students.

So what's next?? Can't say here in the public domain - yet. A lot of things have to happen first.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ACP Student Exhibition

Well, I've just completed my two photography courses at the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP). Over the last 10 weeks I've learnt a lot about photography, especially how my camera operates. This has allowed me to take better photos and learn to be more critical of what I do take. It is surprising how a little knowledge has allowed me to review what I previously thought were great photos, and look at how I can easily improve them.
I wish I could head back to Mossman Gorge near Port Douglas and retake all my photos - they'd be really something. Maybe next July.
Anyway, here are the photos I submitted for the Student Exhibition which opens tomorrow (Wednesday 15 Dec 2010). Not sure which one has been selected, and wont know until the opening night, but you can choose your favourite. I'd love to know what you think!

And one that didn't make my personal cut...

And while I'm at it, for what its worth, my 2 favourite photos from a recent trip to FNQ in September.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hearing Aids

Well, I suppose it finally had to happen. After years of denial, frustration and poor guidance, I went and had another hearing test, and confirmed what I had previously thought - I need hearing aids. I can almost hear (I said "almost") you guys saying "finally"!
I've got to say, probably the most confronting and frustrating personal experience I've ever had. But I also have to say I have had unbelievale support both prior to and now post testing, from everyone. Thanks all, I really appreciate it.
Below is a copy of my hearing results audiogram. An audiogram is a chart that shows the softest levels at which you can hear a range of pure tones (pitches or frequencies).

The major sounds of speech are contained within the audiogram’s test range. These speech sounds are shown on the audiograms above, indicating their approximate loudness (decibels) and pitch (hertz). Once the audiogram is plotted, it is possible to identify which speech sounds are difficult to hear. You can clearly see that I have had major difficulties up until now, especiually with any background noise or multiple conversations, and obvious frustration for myself and you alike (although I never realised it was that bad). Words such as "path and pass", "bed and fed", "dot and got", "heap and heat" all sounded so similar I couldn't distinguish them as single words and had to use the sentence context to get them right and understand.

So, the big day is April 13th 2010. Be prepared for me to hear those little snipes I normally miss, and you have had so much fun with - especially Hamster and BT.

Still a little apprehensive at this stage, but I know it will be a big step forward for the better. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Pudding Races

Location: Heffron Park
Grade: C Grade
Race Distance: 26.3km (13 laps)
My Average Speed: 35.0km/hr (45:00 mins)
Placing: 7th in Bunch Finish (1 off front)
Conditions: Windy, SE, headwind down the main finishing straight, but tailwind on the back of the course, pretty strong. Temperature about 29C. Sunny.

Fairly big turnout for the last RBCC race for 2009. As many as 30 starters in C Grade meant a big bunch.
From the start a rider from Sutherland hit off the front. He gained about 50m on the first lap. I rode to the front of the bunch and brought him back into the fold. On the second lap he attacked again. This time I chased off the front, and the 2 of us managed to get about 100m on the chasing peleton. As I got onto his wheel, he kicked again and I was stuck in no-mans land for the next 3 laps, him not getting too far away, and me not losing ground to the peleton. Eventually, I resisted and fell back into the fold knowing I couldn't bridge across on my own and another 8 laps on my own would possibly prove fruitless. We never saw him again, winning by about half a lap.
Rider off the front on Lap 1

On the left, I begin chase

All back together - Lap 2

Apologies - no photos of me off the front - the photographer couldn't believe it, and missed the opportunity of a lifetime!

Once back into the peleton, I felt pretty strong, comfortable doing a turn every now and then, and chasing down the minor breaks that happened all race.
Coming into what should have been 2 laps to go, we got the bell. I was well place in about 6th wheel. At the top of the straight, it was going to be a bunch sprint of about 12 riders for 2nd place. I hesitated for a moment when I should have gone from a long way (300m) out. No-one would have been expecting it. Instead it turned into a bunch gallop where I finished 7th overall. Pretty happy with that. What was more surprising was the fact I was on the drops in the sprint. I hope this was a natural instinct after weeks of track riding. Still having 3 gears left I crossed the line fairly happy with my ride.
Mid-race - back in the peleton

Presentation Night
Friday Night was the Annual Presentation Night for the Club., I wasn't expecting to get any trophies this year from lack of racing, but went along for the commeraderie anyway.
A little bemused, I won a trophy for getting 3rd in the C Grade 1 Lap Time Trial in April (see club-champs-round-1)
Can't help bad luck sometimes, but I'll take it.
Rumour has it I've been promoted to B Grade for next year. Okay, now the miles and training have to increase if I'm to make any sort of impact there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Track Cycling

Well, as you are all aware by now, I've recently taken up track cycling. The new bike is fantastic, the set-up all but perfect for me. In some ways, I wish I could transfer the set-up over to my road bike.
In recent weeks we have been doing 70-80 lap (330m laps) of paceline work, followed by 3-4 lead-out sprints to finish off. The bigger guys are working me over a bit, but I'm finding it is pushing me along and teaching me more tactics than I could have otherwise imagined.
Tempe Velodrome - concrete track, 330m
I'm gradually learning how to handle the bike, learning to pedal far smoother than I ever have, and this is leading to a better ride on my road bike, too. I'm running a 50x15 (90inch) setup at the moment, but looking at getting a new 48 chainring in the new year so I can run from 81-96inches with my 14,15,16 cog combinations - although 96 is probably far too big for me.
Hopefully, in the new year, more riders will attend the sessions and we can get down to some racing. For the moment though, I'm content to learn and do laps learning more from those around me. For $5 a session, and pretty much one-on-one tuition, who wouldn't.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Comeback Race 2

Ah, the blogs starting to flow thick and fast now! I must be getting a life back!

After a very calm and serene morning, I headed out to Heffron for a couple of races on Saturday. As I left home at 2pm, the wind just started to pick up, and by race time was pretty full-on - it is almost as if the wind wakes up when the clock strikes 2pm! But you wouldn't expect anything different for a Heffron Race Day, would you?
So what has happened in the last week. Well, along with almost zero sleep, a stomach bug that has me 3kg lighter in 4 days, and a very stressful week at work, and some personal issues, I set the bike up with the trusty Zipp Speed Weaponry fast wheels, and I'd say I was due to fly on the weekend. Either that or crash.

Race 1 - C Grade Club Championship Crit - 12km
Race Report
Location: Heffron Park - Club Championships
Grade: C Grade
Race Distance: 12.2km (6 laps)
Conditions: Windy, NE, tailwind down the main finishing straight, but block headwind on the back of the course, pretty strong, again. Temperature about 25C. Sunny.

Unfortunately, due to a washout earlier in the year, a shortened Crit was held before normal Saturday racing. I was a little concerned about the shortened format, with a lack of racing expecting a fast and hard race. From the outset, I was on the front and thought, "Lets blow this race apart". Mid-race (okay only 3 laps, but the pace was on) I was feeling really comfortable. Coming up to the bell, I had the field stretched and ready to produce that rarely seen, but often talked about, Smarty Surprise Attack, when, pffft - rear puncture at 45km/hr! Race over. Bugger!
Calm at the start

Race 2 - Saturday Race - 28km
Race Report
Location: Heffron Park - Club Racing (Cat 4)
Grade: C Grade
Race Distance: 28.5km (14 laps)
My Average Speed: 35.3km/hr (48:30 mins)
Placing: 12th in Bunch Finish
Conditions: Windy, NE, tailwind down the main finishing straight, but block headwind on the back of the course, pretty strong, again. Temperature about 25C. Sunny.

So after replacing a $16 tube with a nice little glass slash, I thought I'd give the afternoon race a go as well. Why not.
So the race started as any other. I dropped my chain and went straight out the back end of the peleton. This wasn't meant to be my day. Even felt like doing the bike discus at one time. Luckily, the pace wasn't too fast and I got back on before the end of the first lap. I settled onto the back of the bunch and felt quite comfortable. The pace wasn't overly fast and I could counter any changes in pace - maybe the first race warmed me up properly. Unfortunately, the 30 strong bunch was really tough to work through towards the front, and a bit hairy at times too. I managed several times to get into the front 8 riders, only to lose ground when the front riders sat up into the wind. I just decided that today I would finish with the bunch, no heroics of last week and see how I fared.
So, quite quickly 8, then 10 laps passed, then the bell-lap. Still hanging on, feeling quite strong, I forced my way through the field at the netball courts only to be pocketed. Backing off and going around lost me a lot of ground, but I sprinted the full length of the straight catching many in front of me to finish 12th. I'll take that, this time.
Typical sitting in.

And again...

This comeback is going to be up and down me thinks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sculptures by the Sea

On Sunday, I had arranged to go and see Sculptures by the Sea.

The weather didn't seem too bad when we met at 12:30pm, and, with Golf Umbrella in hand as insurance, we decided to brave the elements to put a little culture in our lives!

Between Clovelly and Tamarama the weather looked like it may hold off, with only a little light rain falling. Unfortunately, it did get harder and put a bit of a dampener (pun intended) on proceedings as we got to the Bondi end of the exhibition.

We headed back to Bronte for a coffee and chat for a while before heading home. Could have been a great afternoon, but for the weather. Couldn't believe the day before and after were almost perfect. C'est le vie!

Below is one of the photos from the exhibition. If I get a bit of time and the weather is okay, I hope to go back and get a few more photos of some of the other sculptures I really liked.