Saturday Morning Rocks the Bay

Crappy weather tends to keep people away from the beach, especially in the cooler months in Byron Bay. But in this town, howling wind and and swell from the south create a buzz amongst surfers frothing to get the best waves.

Not being much of a morning person, Saturday mornings normally find me blearily looking out over a beach, trying to figure out if this beach is a better choice than the last one, or the next one, or if I should’ve had one more coffee to get the brain into gear.

Yesterday, though, I decided to linger with my camera and keep the surfboard dry until later in the day and check out the action in the carpark from dry land.

I think I made the right choice, as I caught better photos than any waves that were on offer.

 

Mum knows where the good waves are...

Mum knows where the good waves are…

 

 

 

 

 

When the waves are taking too long to arrive-climb on to nearest water hazard.

When the waves are taking too long to arrive-climb on to nearest water hazard.

 

 

 

 

 

Get to the beach any way you can.

Get to the beach any way you can.

 

 

 

 

 

Psyched to get out there.

Psyched to get out there.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for the next squall to arrive.

Waiting for the next squall to arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

Raining out to sea

Why it’s still worth being at the beach in rainy weather.

 

 

 

 

 

Dashboard mascots

Dashboard mascots

 

 

 

 

 

The view from a dry car

The view from a dry car

 

 

 

 

No swimming, but napping is okay.

No swimming, but napping is okay.

 


Coin-throwers gather in pub to commemorate Anzac Day

In Australia, on April 25- Anzac Day, after the dawn service and the other formalities of the day are concluded and the beer starts to flow,  calls of,  “Come in Spinner!” can be heard from many a public watering-hole as punters lay their bets on whether two coins will land as heads or tails.

On the one day of the year it is legal,  games of Two-Up are most often found in pubs in and RSL clubs. (Returned Soldiers Leagues’ Clubs).

In the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay, with money on the table, you’ve never seen so many keen eyes on two coins and their journey.

 

Ready for the throw.

Ready for the throw.

 

 

 

Heads!!

Heads!!

 

 

 

Placing a bet.

Placing a bet.

 

 

 

The tension mounts...

The tension mounts…

 

 

 

In the air...

In the air…

 

 

 

Heads again!

Heads again!

 

 

 

Fifty on Heads.

Fifty on Heads.

 

 

 

 

100% focus.

100% focus.

 

 

 

No throw- coins must be thrown again.

No throw- coins must be thrown again.

 

 

 

Looking good...

Looking good…

 

 

 

It's... What is it?

It’s… What is it?

 

 

 

All eyes on the prize

All eyes on the prize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Booze & Byron Part I

Byron Bay is a town of diversity. Known for its beautiful beaches and framed by a lush, mountainous hinterland, Byron Bay is a mecca for international and national visitors. Depending on who you talk to, Byron Bay is the epicentre  for alternative lifestylers, yoga hipsters, whale-watchers, party animals,  latte-sippers, old-school surfers and the bearded twenty-somethings with the latest wooden retro boards.

But looking beyond the backdrop of peace, love and rainbows the late-night statistics tell a different story: in the twelve months to September 2012, there were 260 alcohol-related assaults. In fact, Police are quoted as saying that in NSW, the place where you are most likely to be assaulted between midnight and 3 am is Byron Bay.

So with these statistics in mind, my latest ongoing project is to document this side of Byron Bay, with all the ups and downs of a drinking culture in a small town of 5000 people which receives 1.5 million visitors a year.

Buskers with a drum kit and electric guitar know how to rock out with passers-by.

Buskers with a drum kit and electric guitar know how to rock out with passers-by.

Tomfoolery on a hen's night.

Tomfoolery on a hen’s night.

Collecting more photographic evidence of a hen's night via i-phone.

Collecting more photographic evidence of a hen’s night via i-phone.

Approaching the messy stage of the evening.

Having a break between drinks.

Girl meets boy, boy meets girl.

Girl meets boy, boy meets girl.

Maaaaaaate.

Maaaaaaate.

Watching the 'other' street entertainment.

Watching the ‘other’ street entertainment.

The next generation of hip-hop poets jam with a busker.

The next generation of hip-hop poets jam with a busker.


Digital moments under the stars

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Sun-worshippers stand around while dragon swallows part of the Sun

These days most people would call it a partial eclipse and overlook the dragon overtones, but partial eclipse sounds a bit partially-exciting to me. But then again, when I ventured down to Main Beach in Byron Bay to watch what remained of the weird light it seemed a bit like a partial event, so I guess the universe knows how to maintain balance.

Here’s the action…

???

 

 

 

 

There seemed to be some sort of theme going on…

 

 

 

Dad shows how to safely look at the dragon

 

 

 

The portable welding-mask iPhone accessory finally came in handy!

 

 

 

At times it was hard to figure out where in the sky the eclipse actually was

 

 

 

 

 


NYC Bike Couriers Race for Glory

From the Archives:

It’s New York City 2004, and I’ve stumbled on to a group of mad bikers gathered together for a treasure hunt ride around town. For anyone who has ridden a bicycle in New York City, you would know that there are a lot of things to run into, and things that would love to  run over you even if you are not involved in a race.

With most of the racers being bike messengers during the day, you’d think that at night they’d be catching their breath at home resting their legs for another day. What I found, however, were a group of pedal-pushers  keen to follow a set of obscure directions around the night streets before meeting at a designated watering hole to claim victory and guzzle a pitcher of beer. Sounds like a celebration of life to me!

Your mission- should you be crazy enough to accept it.

 

 

 

 

 

My fellow team members: pyched and ready to smash through red lights and Stop signs.

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to keep up and focus at the same time is a bit of a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

If I could choose a vehicle to have an accident with, now would be the time…

 

 

 

 

 

With clues written by The Riddler, you have to stop and think sometimes.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the joys of shooting film…is running out of it!!  This is the last frame I shot before we finished the race and went to the rendevous point for beers, glory, and bragging rights.

 

 

 

 


Beach-bum Builds Business Empire from Old Rope

Okay, so when I wrote ‘Business Empire”  I really meant ‘sustainable, self-employed means of supporting oneself to maintain a lifestyle of living next to the beach in Byron Bay, which is obviously a pretty great place to live if you can find a job in this small town with limited off-season job opportunities’.

For the sake of a catchy headline, however, we’ll stick with Business Empire.

The beach bum in question is Kit Degar, and he has made a living by lifting people off the ground and helping them to close their eyes and relax. No, he’s not a yoga teacher. Kit Degar makes hammock hybrids: a chair made of recycled fishing nets suspended from a rope with arm-rests and drink holders, and which are so comfortable you’ll feel like you’ve come home for an afternoon nap. The simplicity of design and comfort are ingenious- a few bits of wood for support in the right places, and the netting which stretches to fit the shape of your body are fitted together by Kit in his home workshop.

Kit Degar with a finished Chair-In-The-Air

Kit’s working life began at sixteen, when he went to work on fishing-boats. During the long, tedious hours and days out at sea he had a lot of time to think about nets, and wondered what other things could be made with this extremely stretchy material which was thrown away in abundance after use. Like many of humanity’s greatest inventions,  his first hammock  was born out of necessity while on a surfing trip at Nias. When he wasn’t in the ocean surfing, he was fed up with not having anywhere to sit while on land. Like any shipwrecked sailor, Kit’s resourcefulness shone through and he built himself not only a place to sit but a future means of working and supporting  himself financially back on dry land.

A few years later Kit found himself in Fiji, with his chairs being a hit in the resorts and hotels where the trees were soon filled with Kit’s chairs and the chairs were filled with happy tourists. Unfortunately for Kit, his business partner enacted his own personal coup and showed his dodgy ways and shut Kit out of the factory, an act which quickly killed the business for all involved.

In 2006,  Kit returned to Australia, unsure of what to do. He wasn’t keen to get a steady job,  and instead started building hammocks again. In Byron Bay he became a regular at local markets, where he would often catch cutomers who just wanted to sit down a minute then got so comfortable they didn’t want to get up again.

I asked Kit what a typical day is for him, and he told me there’s no such thing. “It’s all based around the weather and the surf. If the surf is pumping I’ll drop the tools and get out there,” he tells me with a big grin. “But I’m a real last-minute Charlie, so whenever I need to work I just go hard to get it done. I work at night and don’t sleep for three days.”  Working on fishing boats taught him to “get in and do it hard”.

Kit works on some netting, with a home-made lampshade providing light

So with a job that offers flexible working hours, time to go surfing whenever you want, and selling a product that sells itself, I ask Kit what his dream job would be. “Charter boat captain in the Mentawis,” he tells me without missing a beat.

So if you ever go to the Mentawis and you see a tree with a chair hanging from it, look out to sea, as you’ll probably see a boat with a very happy man sitting in a very comfortable chair.

Practicing for the Mentawi Islands…

For more information about Kit’s chair in the air, go to http://www.chairintheair.com/


Land-locked pirates can’t stop making their own treasure

Land-locked? Sure, for now- until their next trip o’er the sea.

Plundering? Try to find an antique shop on the East Coast of Australia that hasn’t been raided of its silver cutlery by these guys.

Appearing out of nowhere with treasure chests of jewellery to show off? Well, at local markets if you hear the clinkle of earrings and chunky rings  these guys won’t be far.

So with a true compass and polished lenses I visited Pirates Dreaming, aka Adelaide, Aaron and Junior sea dog, Jupiter- local artists and jewellers who  have recently anchored the kombi outside their new studio in Byron Bay.

For more info about Pirates Dreaming, go to www.piratesdreaming.com

Some recent plunder, being re-plundered

Aaron, Master of the Handsaw

Everone pulls their weight on this ship…

Black sails need a taste o’ the hot iron…

Cabinet of curiousities

Focussed on the task at hand

The ship’s crew


A Dolphin’s eye view

Sunlight reaches beneath the waves on a spring morning in Byron Bay.

 

 


Excess creative energy addict attacks recycled junk in his quest for art

Always on the lookout for new and interesting photos, I recently tracked down Garry Barden, a local artist,  who has a natural ability to make interesting sculptures from recycled metal. There were so many  dynamic and photogenic sculptures in the studio I just wanted to stack them all up around him and find a dramatic way to light it. But with Garry being in the middle of making a jewelery stand for a client, and with his studio being so brightly lit and airy, I just went with the flow and photographed him at work, while watching  the creative process unfold.

Garry Barden, sculptor, at work in his studio.

 

 

 

 

 

Inspecting progress on a jewelry stand he’s making on consignment.

 

 

 

 

Welding a few more bits together…

 

 

 

 

A few finished and unfinished works on one of many busy benches…

 

 

 

 

The final details…

 

 

To see more of Garry’s work, check out his blog at http://steelife.com.au/blog/

He’s based in Northern NSW,  in the hills behind Lennox Head, not too far from Byron Bay and Bangalow, and if you’re in the area on a Sunday, you can find him and his sculptures at the markets. For more info, go to http://byronbaycommunitymarket.com/,  http://bangalowmarket.com.au/ or at The Channon- http://www.thechannonmarket.org.au/.

 

 


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