Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

(Not me, obviously!)

After a scrummy lunch with friends at Sailors Thai in the Rocks, we toddled up to College Street to see the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Australian Museum. It’s always great to see these extraordinary photos. I love the ones that remind me of the old Curiosity Show segment “here’s a familiar object seen from an unfamiliar angle”, but the shots that really amaze me are from the young photographers (10 years and under, 11-14 years and 15-17 years).

This year, the Museum has very cleverly included a hands-on component called “My Photo Studio”. It’s great for engaging the younger visitors, but as you can see from the picture above, the grown-ups got to have a play as well.

There’s just over two weeks left. (Don’t forget that the over-18s can also visit the Wildlife Photographer exhibition on Tuesday evenings with a Jurassic Lounge ticket.)

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010
14th December 2010 – 13th March 2011
Australian Museum
6 College Street, Sydney

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Shakespeare by the Sea

Shakespeare by the Sea - Comedy of Errors

This is the 25th season of Shakespeare by the Sea at the Balmoral Beach Rotunda. For the last quarter of a century, David Finlayson MacSwan and his troupe of actors have put on two Shakespeare plays each Summer.

I went to the first season, and several after that, but haven’t been for many years. And then this year a number of things pointed me to the fact that I was overdue for another visit. Firstly, I read that it was the 25th and final season. Then my teenage daughter’s English teacher told her to go see one of this year’s plays. And then – so sad – I heard that Dr Finlayson McSwan had passed away suddenly as the season was due to start.

The company bravely decided to go ahead as planned, and to dedicate the final season to the memory of their director, producer and friend. And what a fitting tribute it is.

We went down to the beach tonight to see A Comedy of Errors. They had moved the play to 1984, and populated it with a band of big-haired, Wham-loving, sharp-suit-wearing smooth operators. What fun! We laughed out loud all the way through, and even our eleven year old kept up with the twists and turns in the plot.

There are a few weeks left in this farewell season, so do yourself a favour and head to Balmoral to see either Comedy of Errors or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s your last chance to experience this uniquely-Sydney event: Shakespeare with a soundtrack of lapping waves and chattering flying-foxes. Take a picnic, a bottle of bubbles and a bunch of friends.

Shakespeare By The Sea
8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until 6th March
The Rotunda, Balmoral Beach
By donation (at least $20 each recommended)

ArtExpress

ArtExpress, the exhibition of selected major works from HSC Visual Arts students, has been around for years. It was an annual affair even before I finished high school, which is a Very Long Time Ago Indeed. Since then it’s grown into a series of local and regional shows, across eleven venues.

In Sydney this year, you can visit ArtExpress at:

The small sampling that’s available online looks amazing. Every year I’m blown away with the level of maturity in these works.

Uke can do it

Ukuleles

Our night of playing the ukulele together at the Sydney Festival First Night got me wondering what other possible excuses I could find for the five of us to jam together. So here are few ideas for you to get your uke on in Sydney.

Meetups

(Seems Monday is the night for uke playing!)

Classes

Any other get-togethers or lessons I should add to this list? Let me know.

(Incidentally, I promised our sixteen year old that I’d buy him a resonator uke when he’s learned the chords for five songs off by heart. So far it looks like my money’s safe in the bank.)

Going batty

Gordon Flying Fox CampThe Gordon Flying-Fox Camp is one of Sydney’s secret treats. Every night between October and March, the bats from this site head out en masse for their evening jaunt. In their ten-thousands. That’s a lot of bats.

Wait on the Rosedale Road bridge, and about 20 minutes after sunset your patience will be rewarded. First you’ll spot a few loners taking flight in the distance, and before you know it, the sky will be full of them.

The night we went recently, there were lots of babies taking their first, unsteady flaps. Very cute. (What is the correct name for a baby bat? A batling? Cub? Pup? Kit?)

A great excursion for a Summer night.

Gordon Flying-Fox Camp
Rosedale Road bridge (between Minns Road and Glenview Street) – 10 minutes walk from Gordon railway station.
Every night, October – March

The Queens are coming to town

(No, not Mardi Gras – through we’re pretty excited about that too!)

On February 22nd, the two ocean liners the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth will meet in Sydney. The grand dame Mary will meet the younger Elizabeth (on her maiden voyage) outside Sydney Heads, and lead her into the Harbour. They’re meeting before 5:30am, and are expected to sail past Fort Denison at around 6:30am, before berthing at Circular Quay and Garden Island.

Both ships will leave Sydney the following day, so you get a chance to see them coming and/or going!

Good spots for a view include:

The schedule for the two days of the “Royal Rendezvous” is:

  • Tuesday, February  22
    5:30 am (approx) Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 meet off Sydney Heads.
    6:30 am (approx) Ships to sail past each other, either side of Fort Denison. Whistle salute from Queen Mary 2.
    7am  (approx) Queen Elizabeth berths at Circular Quay and Queen Mary 2 berths at Garden Island Naval Base.
  • Wednesday, February 23
    Noon: Queen Elizabeth departs Circular Quay. Whistle salute as she sails by Queen Mary 2
    5 pm : Queen Mary 2 departs Garden island Naval Base

Sydney Ferries are running a dawn cruise to meet the Queens as they sail into the Harbour. See www.sydneyferries.info for more information and tickets.

It’s Show time!

Royal Easter Show - the regional displaysThe Sydney Royal Easter Show is coming soon – it starts on the 14th April and runs for nearly two weeks, closing the gates on the 27th April.

This is a must-do event for our family, and we have a real routine for the day. We start with the Food Dome, nibbling our way through the free food samples for morning tea, making sure to talk to the old hands at the regional food displays. We definitely have to look at all the animals, but our favourite is the dogs’ agility trials (although last year’s showjumping rabbits gave them a run for their money). We try to time our picnic lunch so that we can eat it while watching the woodchopping, and we make sure to have our afternoon tea at the CWA cafe (fluffy, fluffy scones). The showbag hall (only one each!) is the last stop of the day, so that we don’t have to drag them around with us all day.

I can’t wait! We’ve already booked our Showlink tickets online. Early bird tickets at discounted prices are available until 29th March.

Sydney Royal Easter Show
14th -21st April
Sydney Showground, Olympic Park