Patrol update

The Doc has changed the Patrol recently. Due to a safety issue identified on the Northern Territory trip, The Doc installed a second UHF radio. The head unit is a GME XRS-330c matched to a RFI CD63 6dBi UHF antenna. All the controls are on the mic, which has a great OLED screen.

The XRS-330c is programable, allowing The Doc to customise frequencies (receive only), including police and emergency services. You can Bluetooth to the head unit making changes easy, by using the iPhone or Android app.

The combination is potent and outperforms my other UHF which is excellent. The new combination is excellent plus more. It has only been tested around Sydney and one short drive to Forster.

Next The Doc fitted Kut Snake flares to replace the OEM ones. These are a little wider and are attached with stainless screws, giving more side protection and a more aggressive look. The Doc painted the rear bumper matt black to match, using Peel Coat. The front LED bar was also painted with Peel Coat.

The last change was Australia flag number plates. To come are matching Australian flag side mirrors after The Doc visits Apex Decals. A picture of the new look, click to see full size. Remember to donate to Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

Lorella Springs Station, Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory

A few photos from Lorella Spring Station, from places like Snapping Handbag Billabong, Gateway Gorge and Teardrop Gorge. Photos taken in the dry season. At the end of the wet these places are accessible by helicopter only.

The Gulf has very unusual cloud formations, on occasions, The Doc got a few images of where two airstreams met creating an unusual pattern (with some other textures from Lorella). Click to see full size image.

Happy and Holy Christmas to all

May the peace of the Christ child be with you and your family this Christmas.

Not much travel after the recent death on my father. The Doc did manage to visit another AWC Sanctuary, this time Curramore. He will post a few photos in the near future.

He is also thinking of Tasmania next year, a nice change from the red dust.

In the meantime, another flower following a recent theme. This time with a white background. Instead of using the inverse square law giving a black background, here The Doc used translucent Perspex as the background. He fired the second flash through the Perspex to overexpose the background, making it white. The Doc used the main flash to expose the front of the flower. It is a focus stack of 6 images.

Learning off-camera flash

As part of the his macro work The Doc is learning how to better use his flash, both on and off the camera. He did a little bit of macro on the Northern Territory trip, but the wind did not help. So more needs to be learned about off camera flash (which copes with wind much better and gives better results).

While at Ballina The Doc is also buying a basic off-camera kit like lightstands, triggers, adapters and flash cold shoes. He has spent several days reading, rereading and watching videos, when he is not painting his parents balcony. Up to coat 5 so far!Lets not forget about washing cars as well.

As part of his research he needed to learn about lightstand adapters and cold shoes. Here is the background research on the adapters and cold shoes.

Gregory National Park, the Northern Territory

When The Doc drove to the Kimberley in 2015, he noticed the red escarpments of Gregory National Park. A note was made to return on the NT trip.

While on the road I heard of someone who said there is nothing at Gregory National Park. It seems the red escarpments and the wild crocodile infested Victoria River was boring. I will let the reader reach their own view, after looking at the photos. The Doc thinks that person was either asleep or had a bag over his head.

Most of these shots were taken close to the Victoria River Roadhouse.

Sorry The Doc can only do basic processing on the images.

Corroboree Billabong and Sweets Lagoon

The Doc has spent the last 2 days out on tours, to Sweets Lagoon and Corroboree Billabong (Mary River Floodplain). The Patrol had been serviced and it was time to see the wetlands by plane and boat (to avoid the mud and crocs by doing it on land).

On paper, Outback Floatplanes Adventures trip to Sweet Lagoon looked the better option. It had a floatplane flight, airboat (flat bottom boat driven by a V8 using a propeller), helicopter flight and cruise in a flat bottom boat.

Corroboree Billabong was the Wildlands Ultimate Tour consisting of an airboat and flat bottom boat tour. The BBC has filmed twice here. This billabong has the highest concentration of crocs in the world. The billabong is feed by the massive Mary River Floodplain. The wildlife has to be be seen to be believed. Thousands and thousands of birds, fish a plenty and lots of top line predators like crocs and White Belied Sea Eagles. The Doc even got to eat some bush tucker from the Sacred Lotus Lily and another flower.

Hands down Corroboree Billabong was better and around 1/3 the cost of the Outback Floatplanes Adventure. Sweet lagoon was expensive at $800 for what it was, a little bit of the four things from around 8.30am to midday. They even charge a credit fee of 1.5%, unlike Wildlands. As an experience Outback Traveller I would not do it again, but would return to Corroboree Billabong in a heart beat, and that cost only $240 for both.

I was left with the feeling Sweet Lagoon was all about maximising bums on seats and putting the tourist thorough the production line. This is the first time I have felt this on my trips. It was not the people, but the production line process.

The auxiliary battery in the Patrol failed on Saturday morning so The Doc has extended his stay in Darwin 2 days to wait for the replacement. A bit lucky the battery failed while the The Doc was in Darwin rather than in the Outback. The Doc has never seen a battery fail so fast, almost no warning signs (I knew there was an issue Friday, but Saturday morning confirmed the failure). The demands of the hot weather was too much.

This is a sample of the floodplain in and around Mary River and Kakadu.

Corroboree Billbong, water, flowers crocs and birds, all in abundance.

Sweets Lagoon images.