Climate Change and 2030

The climate has changed, and is changing worse. This century we’ve had severe droughts, severe drying and bushfires, loss of ocean fish resulting in increased dependency on bushmeat and new diseases entering the human population (think Ebola and COVID-19; 2), and more. Life can get worse and horrifying, if we don’t act now.

Since the 1960’s ecologists have recognised that human induced environmental changes have serious impacts on nature. Rachel Carson’s landmark book called Silent Spring was the first serious publication on this. It has been known since 1824 by Joseph Fourier that carbon dioxide holds heat especially from the suns rays (5). It was Svante Arrhenius in 1896 who surmised that if CO2 levels rose in the atmosphere by double, it would have a serious effect on climate temperatures (5).

We know today that most of the CO2 that is put into the atmosphere is as a result of human activity. Over 51% of emissions come from animal based agriculture (1). This is many times more than the petroleum industry. It’s many times more than switching from plastic to paper straws.

If we are to seriously aim for net zero emissions by the agreed target of 2030, and even achieve sequestration (carbon capture and store), there are some easy big impact things we can do:

  • Quickly reduce our animal product consumption (direct reduction on deforestation and emissions)
  • Support farmers by having a mainly grain, vegetable, and fruit diet
  • Replant large swathes of farmland to natural vegetation (carbon sink)
  • Reduce reliance on fossil fuels (including plastics, petroleum, and energy production emissions)

Why “reduce animal agriculture”? Simple mathematics. Cows require huge amounts of grain and water to live. The American cattle industry alone consumes 31% of drinkable water. A vegan diet requires 18 times less farm land than an animal based diet (1).

Vegan diets are not bad, but in fact better. Please who changed quickly to a vegan diet noticed it took a couple of weeks for the body to adapt. However, high performance athletes like weightlifters and professional parkour athletes notice a boost in performance (3). They can lift more and perform better. So, where can you get protein from? Protein is in everything we eat anyway(3). Cutting animal based protein will have no bad effects on your body, only good effects. Additionally, changing to a plant based diet solves a different problem, fiber deficiency.

Why are we writing about this? The two-birds logo is representative of our ethos: Dignity, respect, freedom, environment, and travel. We hope the best for all humanity by protecting the environment, with positive knock-on effects for humanity.

Want to fact check us? Please do. Some suggested references include:

  1. Cowspiracy: https://www.cowspiracy.com/
  2. Seaspiracy: https://www.seaspiracy.org/facts
  3. What the Health: https://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/
  4. An Inconvenient Truth: https://www.algore.com/library/an-inconvenient-truth
  5. Greenhouse Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

If you are vegan, or have recently switched to a mostly or exclusively vegan diet, tell us how you went below? Leave your comments and favourite new recipes below.

Drone photography

You may have noticed on the socials that we’ve been experimenting with a new angle – from up high. This gives us literally – a new dimension – to our offerings. We can get a camera to hard to get places to do more and new work. We can do things like asset inspection, real estate, remote photography, and more.

A drone used by Travel Photos Pty Ltd

As you can guess, in the coming months we will be learning more and experimenting more with aerial photography. Our knowledge and skills in photography will be transferred across, and upskilling in quad-copter flying.

Are there laws and restrictions on flying drones? Absolutely. We’re getting out Remote Pilot’s Licence, Aviation Radio Operator’s Certificate, Cert III Aviation, and Remote Operator’s Certificate. All required for commercial operations under the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s rules in Australia.

Follow us on Instagram to keep up with the new stuff.

Temora Airshow

The airshow was hosted by the Temora Aviation Museum on the weekend of the 6th and 7th March 2021. As it so happens, on the 21st of March is the Royal Australian Air Forces’ (RAAF) 100th anniversary. It was preceded by the Australian Air Corps of the Australian Army from 1912 to 1920, making it the second oldest air force in the world.

  • The new Pilatus PC21 trainer

Temora is a small little rural country town in the literal middle of nowhere in rural country Australia – in the middle of the rural country area. There’s nothing much around Temora, but canola fields, some sheep, maybe some random cattle. I don’t think even the kangaroos bother being in the middle of rural country nowhere. The airshow still attracted 3000 visitors, which is not a fair measure. It was covid restricted to 3000, so it would normally receive more people.

The DeHaviland Tigermoth. Originally intended as a fighter in in WWI, but became an important trainer and civilian workhorse.
Originally intended as a fighter in WWI, the De Haviland Tigermoth became an important trainer and civilian workhorse at the Temora Airshow. No photoshopping required. The Tigermoth really did pass by the moon before it set later in the day.

Temora, though, has aviation history. During World War One (1914 to 1918) it was the site of the Empire Training Scheme, where the British Commonwealth pilots were trained. It was also a major training site during World War Two. During the postwar period to the late 1990’s the Temora “airport” was a forgotten place in aviation history. However, interest in Temora as a site for vintage aircraft airshows rose in the 1990’s, I even helped out at an airshow there then. Then in the early 2000’s a businessman with an interest in Australian aviation military history started the Temora Aviation Museum (TAM).

The iconic Battle of Britain hero the Supermarine Spitfire.
The Battle of Britain hero the Supermarine Spitfire at the Temora Airshow and 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

The TAM has slowly collected some iconic aircraft of military aviation history, including from small one to the big ticket items. Though modest, the collection is still enviable. My personal favourites are some of my all-time favourites the English Electric Canberra and the Curtis P40 Kittyhawk.

A Curtis P40 Kittyhawk taxiing before takeoff at the Temora Airshow.

However, in the last year, possibly due to the economic effects of the lockdowns and travel restrictions of the coronavirus period, most of the TAM collection was recently handed over to the RAAF.

The Curtis P40 Kittyhawk taxiing ahead of an air display at the Temora Airshow and 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

The EE Canberra had been airworthy, but a rebuild and inspection of the engines were apparently needed. It’s currently not flying, but they did demonstrate the engines warming up early in the day. It is expected to be in the air again later in 2021.

The English Electric Canberra at the Temora Airshow and 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

My favourite photos of the airshow, weirdly, were taken at the very start. It was a rescue helicopter that came in before anything started. I was renting the Sigma 150-600mm behemoth lens. I’ve never used a lens like it before. So, I tested it out a bit a couple of days before the airshow. On the day itself, the incoming helicopter was a last test before the “serious shoot”. I was able to check my focusing techniques, shutter speed for the rotors, stabilisation techniques, etc. Unintended, these turned out so great. I think for a few reasons. Firstly, the helicopter appeared much closer than the airshow displays. Second, we can clearly see people. Third, the people were doing things. Fourth, it’s a bright contrasty colourful scene.

I’m not sure why the rescue helicopter was here. I suspect it’s something to do with civilians doing aerobatics, former military pilots doing aerobatics, in vintage aircraft.

The airshow featured some world “firsts”. Including the first time three Spitfires flew in formation since WWII. The first time two CAC Boomerangs flew in formation with a Lockheed Hudson. And the first time Spitfires flew in formation with the new Lockheed Martin F35 Lighting II. This also marks the first time I’ve seen the F35 in person. It was hard to photograph, as it came at the end of the day, when all the other aircraft flew at propeller-speed slow, then suddenly this fast-moving beast blasted by only a few times, I wasn’t quite ready to deal with the speed.

The new RAAF Lockheed Martin F35 Lighting II at the Temora Airshow and 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

These photos and more will be available for sale on our stock sales site soon at either Alamy or our archive.

As I’ve said, the main lens used is a rented specialty telephoto lens, the Sigma 150-600 lens. It’s a rare lens, due to the telefocal length and the versatility the Zoom range offers. It’s mostly used by bird watchers, wildlife, and sports photographers. It performed well. The focus speed was as expected or better; it didn’t take long to find the target to focus on. Though this wasn’t the sports model, it just did the job well. It suffers a little in vignetting at the 600mm end, even at f9. Also, the lens is surprisingly light considering the glass elements the zoom range needs. Would I buy one?

Is the lens sharp? I think no. It’s good, but not that good. At 290mm. While post processing the images, I thought a lot of the softness was from me not using a fast enough shutter speed for the focal length and distance. However, 290mm at 1/320sec should result in perfectly sharp photos, but I haven’t found a perfectly crisp photo. It seems softness is from chromatic aberration, but without colour. Would I get the Tamron equivalent? Well, that was my preferred choice, so in the end, I don’ think it matters too much which I get… but I’d rather try the Tamron first.

Gliding in Australia

Gliding is an amazing sport and leisure pursuit. There is always so much to learn; especially the wide variety of things you can learn about. Ok, I like to geek out, but you don’t have to. The best memories of gliding I have as a teenager was the late afternoon smooth silky air. The views of long shadow sunsets. Performing a very difficult landing during unexpected rain in my most hated glider: the Blanik (however, a proud moment). Also, the variety of people you meet, who have a wide variety of knowledges, expertise, and personalities.

Above: Wendy in a Melbourne Gliding Club glider (the high performance Duo Discus and DG-1001).

Recently, I got in contact with the Gliding Federation of Australia to see if I could do a shoot or two or more with them. I love flying. I love aeroplanes. I even used to be a member of the air force cadets.

Above: Some photos from when I was a teenager in the 1990’s. Me in the glider I spent the most time in, an IS-28, fling in the Interservice Competition at Leeton in a K7. My favourite glider the K-13. My old learner’s motorbike with the dream glider: the Club Libelle. Photos were taken on film, and photographed from an old album.

As a part of the presentation of photos that I’m building up is the story aspect. I was so lucky to work with the very patient and helpful Iain and Belen of the Melbourne Gliding Club. Special thanks to Sarah of the Gliding Federation of Australia for helping to make these possible. Featured below is Wendy, a great Melbourne-based model.

Above: Preparing for the day. For more information about gliding, please go to these websites:

Above: Take off

Above: In flight

Above: Pack away. Below: Thanks to Iain, Belen, Paul, Alan, Wendy, and Sarah; some are seen below. You’re a fantastic team.

We want to do more gliding and aviation photography. Please support us by either getting us in touch with people who can help, fly, or fund us.

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Lensbaby

Lensbaby is a special lens. I’ve had mine for… since… I don’t know! Since forever it seems; at least 10 years. I’m sure you’ll recognise some of these photos showcased below and now you may realise how I created a particular effect. Yes, Lensbaby is my secret weapon.

What is a Lensbaby? It’s a manual focus / manual aperture lens that has unique characteristics that enhance through selective focus on a topic or subject in a photo. I use the original Lensbaby Composer Pro 50mm. This lens allows me to literally bend the lens in half to shape the focus point. I first got it for my Minolta cameras. Minolta later dumped their camera division onto Sony, so my Lensbaby is for the “Minolta/Sony A” mount. I’ve since dumped Sony in favour for Canon, so instead of abandoning one of my favourite lenses, I’ve got an adapter so I can continue to use it.

I’ll admit, I’ve been using my Lensbaby less since I made the change to Canon. I hope that this blog post will remind me to come back to to this. One of my favourite projects was(is) the City of Ghosts project. The origin of it is from this one image. Here I was initially using a standard lens, but struggling with balancing the lighting, and working with a model who had limited experience. All the standard approaches was giving me very standard pedestrian results, which I was not satisfied with. So, I switched to my Lensbaby, and got this image.

Outdoor night portraits of a young Japanese lady in Osaka, taken with a selective focus lens.

What I’d really like to do is come back to my City of Ghosts project. As you can see is that the original shoot was done in Tokyo. It was fun to do. We were in the iconic Shibuya crossing. The one that features on blockbuster movies. The one that has anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people crossing at each light change. As we were shooting, the model was cold (it was early November); I was cold; my assistant was cold. There were lots of Japanese interested in what we were doing. Foreign tourists photographing my model, me, us working. But, we all wanted to get the best variety of photos possible.

The shoot started with my standard general purpose 28-75mm f2.8 lens. As you can see, the photos were nice. You can see the crossing. You can see the context. However, something was missing. It had context, but I wasn’t yet satisfied with the visual outcomes, so I switched to my Lensbaby.

What’s next? More. I’m now in Melbourne, with new people, with new scenes, and with more skills and knowledge. I hope to work with a model and develop a story. Not just show a pretty model in a scene, but to make a story for people to experience.

  • Learn more about other great lenses like this at: https://lensbaby.com/
  • If you’re a Melbourne-based model, and interested in collaborating in the City of Ghosts project, please contact us
  • If you are interested in funding and/or displaying the City of Ghosts collection, please contact us.