Mount Agung, Bali. An Eruption Looms.

Mount Agung, Bali. An Eruption Looms.

We arrived in Bali around the end of July, and the main volcano of the island, Mount Agung, started stirring. Not that you’d really know. Minor earth tremors, things of that nature. Needless to say, it’s been a slow build. Up until last week – that’s where things have really reached boiling point.

We had planned a road trip around the North East and as such, got some great views of the massive structure that stands around 3,000 meters above sea-level. And sea-level is kinda where this mountain starts. It’s incredible. The roads, all around it, just gradually go up and up and up.

Either way, being so close to this rumbling icon has put a spotlight on some pretty interesting aspects of reporting. And a couple of my pictures have been picked up by international media, to help support the narrative. For example, The Guardian, Daily Mail and Perth Now to name a few. As I write this, I’m talking with producers from the BBC Word Service Radio. It’s a seriously hot topic issue. Especially now the alarm level has been raised to the highest state of ‘4 – Eruption imminent’.

News is so slow to get out. You see a tweet indicating the alarms have reached a critical new high, only to realise it was a scheduled tweet to ensure this mornings link gets seen. So, no actual change. News media using various sources, being a little out of date. Then there’s mixed messages.

You also see messages for international tourists, saying no need for concern.

What I didn’t expect was to be labeled irresponsible. As in, me being irresponsible.

Here’s my initial tweet:

From my tweet, I didn’t anticipate some of these replies. I take their point, but still caught me by surprise.

I get it. I didn’t exactly say what was going on. But I did was keep the tweet short and use two pictures to tell the story. I had – falsely – hoped that would demonstrate the activity with a picture. Equally, I didn’t say “LAVA Steaming down mountain”. Which, some people are absurdly doing. This type of event attracts headlines the hooks people in, and increasingly prank news (perhaps referred to as Fake News – this ain’t that).

Looking at media, reports of smoke, lack of clarity on the source of the smoke. It’s from the bush fires. In a broad sense, the mountain is a volcano, and there is smoke coming from it, but it’s misleading. Reports of monkeys running down the hills. Are they escaping the fires?

I’m not saying there aren’t causes for concern. But broader media – social and traditional – love to drum up a dramatic story. That was never my intention. I saw the beautiful volcano. It was a clear night. There was a fire burning.

The volcano under the starts had been a bucket list photo I’d been chasing since I arrived.

Have a look at the pictures below – many have been tweeted. You can see how images, with the right or wrong caption, can tell (or support) a different story.

Last up. Something that was level at me was the following. Have a look.

Sunrise at Jells Park

Sunrise at Jells Park

I’ve never been to Jells Lake at sunrise, let alone Jells Park at first light. I’ve had no real need, and to be honest, I didn’t really know much about it at all. But a local amateur photography competition(#SnapMonash) recently caught my interest, and the requirements are to capture a photograph in the City of Monash. So that led me to having a little explore. On to Google Maps I went, had a look in the region, and I thought ‘that might be nice’.

I used to live just around the corner, but I wasn’t really in to photography back then. And having never been, I had no idea what I’d find, but I’m really happy I got up at 5am on Wednesday morning to check it out . The fog on the water, all the wild life, beautiful colour in the sky – the morning was really rad.

As for the competition, it’s being run from the Monash Gallery of Art and The Glen Shopping Centre. There aren’t too many entries yet on Instagram (check out the #snapmonash hashtag), but this kind of stuff really needs grass-roots support. I’m not a professional photographer, but it really is a massive passion of mine. And the only way these competitions run and encourage people with their passions, is if they get the entries. For all the details, check out the #SnapMonash Competition page

Anyways, here are my photos – I hope you like what I’ve found, and equally, get down there yourself. I just hope I submitted the right one. They say you can enter multiple times, but I don’t wanna be ‘that guy’…

The Pinnacles of Phillip Island – Seriously Epic

The Pinnacles of Phillip Island - Seriously Epic

The Pinnacles at Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island are pretty close to Melbourne. All up, the drive is about 2 hours from Melbourne, but living in Australia, that’s not massive. As you walk down to the beach, it’s a pretty typical Aussie surf beach. Big waves, lots of sand, mist in the air, windy, and cliffs on the horizon. The entrance to the walkway is about 1km east (left) from the beach car park, so it’s pretty cruisy walk to the walkway which is the beginning of Cape Woolamai. You start to climb and get a better picture, but it doesn’t really prepare you.

The walk from the car park is about 45/60 minutes (depending on how often you stop for a click), and it’s not a tough mission. Along the way, there’s plenty to see, but nothing really prepares you for the real highlight of The Pinnacles. When you get there, you’re looking down from an observation platform and things look amazing, but still a little small. When you head down, it really gets put in perspective, and you really appreciate how large those rocks actually are. Each on of those pebbles are big enough for two to stand on. And there are thousands of them!

Lucky for me, this weekend I decided to head down and see how I’d go. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a bad move. The weather was wild, and I thought this could be a real fizzer. So, have a look through the photos below. You can see the weather starting off pretty rough, and as time goes on, the clouds blew over and the colour in the sky comes on strong to put on a show. Loved it!

Icing on the cake

Just to put icing on the cake, at one point we saw a pod of dolphins about 20 strong! Talk about an awesome little mission. Too far out with my wide lenses on, but still, it’s about more than the photos.

And a little freebee

You can download pretty sweet resolutions here, but if you’d like a super high original resolution of “Saving the best moment for the end. Amazing.”, I’ve got a download link for my favourite Pinnacles Sunset Photo. Feel free to use for personal use however you’d like – just don’t sell it…