Cape Schanck

10/07/2017 at 4:34 AM (Activities, Environment, Travel, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Cape Schanck is located on the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula where the wild sea water of the Bass Strait unites with the calmer water of Westernport Bay. It was named after Admiral John Schanck who designed the Lady Nelson centreboard and who was also was commissioned in 1799 to survey the coast of Australia.

These days the most imposing and defining landmark of Cape Schanck is the 21m tall Cape Schanck Lighthouse which was built and completed back in 1859; it is actually the second lighthouse built in Victoria and the first lighthouse tower in possession of stone stairs. Entry fees do apply for tours of the lighthouse and small museum.

A prominent geological formation is Pulpit Rock which stands out at the very tip of the cape. This can be accessed through the wooden staircase and scenic boardwalk which descends to the beach but look out for large, fierce waves in winter which may wash across Pebble Beach.

Another walk available through the main car park is the 2.6km Bushrangers Bay Track which abounds with lovely coastal scenery and this first lookout is an insight into several that follow. For anyone who would like more information or more detailed notes, a guide to this walk is available for purchase.

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Open House Melbourne 2015

08/11/2015 at 2:50 AM (Architecture, Buildings, Events, Melbourne, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Well, it’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve been busy travelling on the weekends & reading less on my commute but this does mean I’ve built up an arsenal of photos.  Anyway on a cold blustery winter weekend, I had my boyfriend accompany me to the 2015 Open House Melbourne. I don’t repeat buildings I’ve previously visited so I managed to make it to 10 new venues this time.

Melbourne Cricket Ground 

© Sarasi Peiris

First on the agenda was the Melbourne Cricket Ground Tour at 10 AM. While it also included a walk to external spaces of the Tennis Centre precinct and AAMI park, the tour didn’t quite meet my expectations as it was meant to also include visits to the player change rooms, pitch and the long room. We did get to stand in the members reserve section to take photos though. Apart from that, the tour attendees were provided insight into the logistics of running events at the MCG and treated to some interesting trivia including the etymology of the phrase “hat trick”. After I returned home, there was an email apologising about the tour having changed from the one originally advertised but I guess we did attend for free.

DesignInc

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© Sarasi Peiris

We only left the MCG at a quarter to eleven so I decided to fit in a couple of CBD buildings. The second building I visited was an open plan work space utilised by an architecture and design firm, DesignInc. It is located within the former GPO building but access was interesting as it required entry through a lane I previously didn’t even know about, Postal Lane. There is also an external courtyard and greenery through the use of plants was a defining feature. The studio explained how they had to work with H & M to preserve the heritage features of the old GPO while also allowing it the functionalities of a retail space.

Council House 2 (CH2) 

© Sarasi Peiris

After walking down one more block, we lined up in the queue for the 10-storey Council House 2 (CH2) as it only took 20 people every 20 minutes. A man walking past commented, “What are you lining up for? breakfast? “. He was a bit off the mark given it was almost 12.30 pm at that point. After viewing a presentation featuring how green technologies were incorporated into the office design which you can see more of here, we were able to make a trip to the rooftop garden using a combination of the lift and several flights of stairs.

Government House

© Sarasi Peiris

Next on my itinerary was Government House, the largest residential building in Australia, which served as the official residence of the Governor of Victoria after it was completed in 1876. The House which was designed by architect William Wardell now is also used as a venue for constitutional, ceremonial and community events. The 11 hectares of gardens which has survived its original design by Joseph Sayce in 1873 was later subject to several  improvements by William Guilfoyle through the use of exotic varieties of plants. Ceremonial trees planted by various members of the royal family line the main drive because foreign dignitaries can often be guests of Government House.  

Luna Park

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© Sarasi Peiris

Lucky last was our 3.30 PM behind-the-scenes tour of Luna Park. I would have squeezed in another building but the boyfriend was really hungry so we stopped to refuel him. This tour led us to through a secret door which held the old Scenic Railway which is 102 years old, to the inside of the restored 100-year-old Carousel and through the tracks of the Ghost Train, which was previously called The Pretzel. We were also taken to a newly built open-floor function space which provided a good view of the park and even beyond to St Kilda beach. My highlight was learning that the taxidermy dog in the Ghost Train section was donated by an old lady who wanted her beloved pet immortalised as a ghost.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Given this was the last year the horses were to be stationed at the operational headquarters of the Mounted Police in Victoria, this large stable building drew in a large crowd and hence created a long wait; I lined up at 10.05 AM and got in to the tour at 11.15 AM. The police in Victoria have used horses since the Military Mounted Police rode into the colony in 1836 and the establishment of Victoria Police in 1853 brought several mounted units together and created a cohesive whole. Horse and rider numbers increased until they reached a peak period in early 1900 with 211 stations but the introduction of the motorcar brought about their gradual decline and downfall. The best part of the tour was watching the horses demo playing soccer.

Argus Building

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© Sarasi Peiris

This building was originally designed as a home for the Argus newspaper between 1924 and 1926.  During its burgeoning period, 700 staff members occupied this building. After the newspaper closed in 1957, the place was used for several purposes which unfortunately resulted in permanent changes to the original facade, interiors and central light well. It is now home to the CBD campus of the Melbourne Institute of Technology. The only original interior that survived is the restored former Advertising Hall.

Hotel Windsor

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© Sarasi Peiris

This hotel designed by architect Charles Webb used to be called The Grand but was renamed The Windsor after His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales visited in 1920. It is the only surviving example of an opulent 19th century luxury hotel in Melbourne. When first constructed and it opened its doors in 1883, it was one of Victoria’s largest hotels. It is also a precursor to all the following grand hotels: The Savoy, London; The Ritz, Paris; Plaza, New York. Unfortunately self-guided tours only granted access to the Grand Ballroom and the majority of the lobby.

Eildon Mansion

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© Sarasi Peiris

Given most of the Route 3a and 16 trams weren’t operating or were subject to delays, the only way I was able to get to this Renaissance Revival style mansion which was built in the 19th century, was by taking the Route 96 tram. This mansion was owned by Mr Ferit Ymer from 1951 where he and his wife raised their six kids while also running a boarding house between the 1950s and 1980s. Accommodation was specifically created for singles, couples or new immigrants to Melbourne. However in later years this business declined and the clientage started to become backpackers after extensive restorations by two of the owners sons in 2004. Now it is home to the Alliance Francaise who had organised lots of fun activities for the day including a French breakfast, scavenger hunt for parents and kids and free 30-minute French lessons at set times throughout the day.

Esplanade Vaults

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© Sarasi Peiris

When the new cable tramway replaced the old horse-drawn omnibus on St Kilda’s Upper Esplanade, the roadway had to widened to allow for the tram tracks. This enabled 10 shops with arched ceilings and verandahs to face the Sea Baths on the Lower Esplanade. The shops sold merchandise suited to a seaside locale such as ice-cream, confectionery, fish & chips and swimwear and a projector displayed old photographs depicting such scenes inside the vaults. Tea rooms were also part of the shops. However while the tramway became a success, the shop verandahs were removed in the 1950s and the vaults bricked up when Jacka Boulevard needed widening in the 1970s.

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Sand Sculptures – Storyland

08/02/2014 at 4:58 PM (Art, Books, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I attended the annual sand sculpture exhibition in Frankston this year too which was themed after Penguin book titles for kids.

The sculpture below greeted me at the entrance letting me know I was entering Storyland.

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As I walked around, I saw the sculpture below of Postman Pat and his van. Although Postman Pat started as a British animated television series for children, over 12 million books about him have been sold. Postman Pat is about the adventures of the postie as he goes about delivering mail.

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Next there was a sculpture of Charlotte’s Web. It is a novel for children written by E.B. Williams and illustrated by Garth Williams. It is a story about a pig called Wilbur and his friendship with an intelligent spider called Charlotte.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The sculpture below was unfamiliar to me but I thought the design was spectacular. It depicts the Flower Fairies, based on the books and illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker. The children in her illustrations are modeled on students who attended her sister’s kindergarten.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

I was familiar with the below sculpture as I had previously owned a Little Miss Sunshine T-shirt. The sculpture is a tower of Mr. Men and Little Miss characters. All of them have self-descriptive personality traits.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

Below is a sculpture of Where the Wild Things Are which was originally written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. If you’ve not yet read the book or seen the movie, it is about a boy called Max who retreats into a world of imagination after he creates havoc at home and is sent to bed.

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The sculpture below is of Ferdinand, the bull. This bull prefers to smell flowers rather than fight. The children’s novel about him was written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The next sculpture made me feel sentimental because I used to watch Angelina Ballerina cartoons having once been a ballet kid. Angelina Ballerina was created by writer Katherine Holabird and is illustrated by Helen Craig. It is about the adventures of a mouse who dreams about becoming a prima ballerina.

AngelinaBallerina

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The interesting sculpture below pays tribute to The Discovery of Dragons which is authored and illustrated by Graeme Base. It is written as a series of tongue-in-cheek letters from “discoverers” of dragon species in the world and features European, Asiatic and Tropical dragons.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The picture below features several characters you might recognise from the books of Beatrix Potter including Peter Rabbit. He was named after a pet she used to have called Peter Piper.

PeterRabbit

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The quality of the picture below is not up to par so I apologise. It features the story written and illustrated by Eric Carle, about The Very Hungry Caterpillar who ate his way into becoming a beautiful butterfly.

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Next we see homage has been paid to the tales of Pippi Longstocking, the children’s series by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Pippi is a feisty nine-year-old girl with unconventional ideas and superhuman strength who takes her neighbours on adventures.

Pippi

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The sculpture I came to next brought Narnia to life through the medium of sand.  Here we see a representation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis.

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The next exhibit had me puzzled until the display informed me this showed Hairy Maclary. So it turns out New Zealand author Dane Lynley Dodd writes a children’s series about a fictional dog and his exploits against an opponent cat.

Hairymclary

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The sculpture below portrays Jumanji. Before the movie, there was a book which was written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. For those not in the know, it is about a magical board game.

Jumanji

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The sculpture below should be easily recognisable to anyone who watched the cartoons about him. It shows Spot the Dog and his friends. The books about Spot were written by Eric Hill.

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I loved the next sculpture because it showed a book I loved and adored as a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was written by Roald Dahl. The story was inspired by the writer’s experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The next sculpture was interesting as it was based on a video-game rather than a book. I guess Angry Birds represents the childhood of the present.

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Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

Fortunately the next sculpture was more in my element as it was based on a fantasy book loved by children and adults, the story of the bespectacled boy wizard, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. The level of detail in the caricature of the characters was amazing.

HarryPotter

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

Harry Potter

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

Harry Potter

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

Having seen the exhibitions for Toytopia, Creepy Crawlies and now Storyland, I can’t wait for the upcoming theme for the sand sculptures next April: Friends, Foes and Superheroes.

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Open House Melbourne 2014

07/28/2014 at 12:56 PM (Architecture, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last weekend was Open House Weekend 2014 which meant I was in for long trips and waiting in queues if I were to make my destinations. Armed with camera, water bottle, some fruit and a big book, I started my adventure of exploring the buildings in my city and their history. While I waited in line for an hour sometimes, I made great progress with my book while snacking on mandarins. On my third Open House journey I was prepared and succeeded in making it to 10 buildings so you can see the results of my efforts of traveling across Melbourne below.

Victoria Barracks

Victoria Barracks

© Sarasi Peiris

This year, I was lucky enough to win the ballot for Victoria Barracks. It was constructed in 1856 on land regarded as unusable swamp and has a long history of defence activity. The headquarters for the Imperial Army and Victorian Military Forces were located here in colonial times. After Federation, strategic decisions took place here, for the Boer War, World War I and II and the Korean War, in the War Cabinet Room which still looks as it used to be, with seats preserved from the time of Robert Menzies until the defence administration was moved to Canberra in the 1950s. Heritage buildings here include an original bluestone soldiers barracks, a former military hospital, The Barracks Heritage Centre which used to be a guardhouse, the Staff Sergeants Quarters built in 1858 which became the first RAAF headquarters in 1921, the armoury and ordnance buildings from 1860 and the basalt ‘Keep’ which became a wine cellar. There is even a chapel which gave accommodation to married couples in the military forces.

Parliament House

Parliament House

© Sarasi Peiris

My next port of call was Parliament House for which there was a 1 hour wait and an evacuation to the rear entrance due to a protest rally. Plans for Parliament House were drawn in November 1855. In 1856, construction first commenced for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council Chambers. In 1861, the Parliamentary library came into existence. The Vestibule and Queen’s Hall were built later in 1879. Designed by architect Peter Kerr, the original plans have yet to come to fruition because a dome should be sitting on top of the Vestibule.

German Lutheran Trinity Church

Stained Glass Window in german Lutheran Trinity Church

© Sarasi Peiris

This church pays homage to the Gothic Revival movement and designed by architect Charles Blachmann. The church is built of bluestone and was constructed by Heinrich Goedecke, a gold rush era migrant from Germany. The magnificent stained glass windows are striking and depicts biblical stories. Surprisingly, the ceiling of the Lutheran church resembles the inverted hull of a ship which is not a typical feature of German churches. The altar is  in the middle of the sanctuary and forms half of a decagon.

No 1 Spring Street

Shell Mace sculpture

© Sarasi Peiris

In the exterior plaza, I am greeted by the sculpture Shell Mace designed by Charles O. Perry who has designed other objects of art such as a collection of jewelry and silver for Tiffany, chess sets, and puzzles. The floor plates in the shape of a shell, acknowledge the original tenants, the Australian head office of Royal Dutch Shell. The building was designed by Harry Seidler, an ambassador of European Modernist architecture in Australia. In the foyer, an enamel mural by Arthur Boyd based on the painting Bathers and Pulpit Rock occupies an awkward space close to the ceiling. Meanwhile in the office on level 15 which houses the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, the windows overlook a magnificent panorama of the city gardens, MCG and the Yarra.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick's Cathedral

© Sarasi Peiris

This church is considered one of the largest Gothic Revival churches and is the largest building of its style in Victoria. It looks like the ancient, medieval cathedrals in England and is perhaps due to the influence of the architect William Wardell. In the church, the altar mosaics and the eagle lectern made of brass were built in Venice. The cross on the main spire was a gift  from the Irish government.

Limelight Studios and Salvation Army Heritage Centre

Limelight Studios and Salvation Army Heritage Centre

© Sarasi Peiris

The Salvation Army purchased Attic Limelight Studio when the YMCA became unable to maintain the premises due to foreclosure. Afterwards Captain Joseph Perry used it for a while as a photographic studio. Under the encouragement of Herbert Booth, Perry started to produce motion picture films and gave birth to the Limelight Department. About 400 films were made here until 1909. The most well-known production made here was ‘Soldiers of the Cross’. The studio still remains preserved and now houses the Salvation Army Heritage Centre.

Melbourne Synagogue

Melbourne Synagogue

© Sarasi Peiris

Built between 1928-1930 influenced by Nahum Barnet, it has a beautiful interior design with leadlight windows dating back to the 70s. The twentieth century Baroque classicism shows in the ornate exterior with its Corinthian columns in the entryway. It often is referred to as the Cathedral Synagogue. The congregation reached full membership in 1946 after some 15,000 European Jewish migrants came to Australia.

Australian Tapestry Workshop

Australian Tapestry Workshop

© Sarasi Peiris

The Australian Tapestry Workshop was established in 1976 and uses the same techniques employed in Europe since the 14th century in the creation of contemporary, hand-woven tapestries. It employs weavers who are trained artists so works of art that are unique can be created instead of a reproduced design which is weaved. More than 400 tapestries have created here including in collaboration with international artists. Tapestries are woven using fine Australian wool which is dyed onsite to a palette of 366 colours.

Portable Iron Houses

Portable Iron Houses

© Sarasi Peiris

These portable iron houses are pre-fabricated homes migrants brought with them when gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851. There are three preserved houses: Patterson, Bellhouse and Abercrombie. Patterson is still located on its original site, Bellhouse was saved from demolition in Fitzroy and Abercrombie was rescued from North Melbourne. These houses were a common sight during the 19th century but now are quite rare.

South Melbourne Town Hall

South Melbourne Town Hall

© Sarasi Peiris

When it opened in 1880, this splendid building, designed by Charles Webb, housed a courthouse, a firehouse, a post office, a library and a council office. It is located in Emerald Hill which was a site of significance for indigenous communities ahead of European settlement. Currently the Town Hall facilities are mainly used by the Australian National Academy of Music but the rooms I got to view included the Council Chambers, the Mayor’s room, the auditorium and the Ballantyne Room which was gifted a beautiful chandelier.

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The Best Pictures of 2012

01/01/2013 at 12:51 PM (Photography, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome to 2013. Toward the tail end of 2012, I kept reading but found it draining to write reviews after commuting home and on weekends, I spent time with family and friends which led to the ignorance of this blog. Besides after my trip Spain & France, I visited Fiji in November and then Hawaii in December which led to a lot of my focus to be concentrated on vacation planning. So this year, I’ve decided to mainly focus on photographs. But I’m going to share my usual best of 2012 photos before sharing my 1st photo for the collection of 2013 tomorrow.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Temple of Debod is located in Madrid, Spain. It was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government as a token of their gratitude for Spain’s assistance in saving the temples of Abu Simbel.

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© Sarasi Peiris

This is the last gothic cathedral that was built in Spain. It is located in Segovia and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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© Sarasi Peiris

This is the view from the rooftop of the Castle of Segovia. The castle used to be a fortress which eventually came to be of use to Queen Isabella I of Castile.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Park Güell is a garden with architectural elements designed by Antoni Gaudi. It is one of the largest architectural works in south Europe.

Dali's Mae West

© Sarasi Peiris

The Mae West Lips sofa is a surrealist sofa by Salvador Dalí. It is located in The Mae West Room as a display in the Dalí Museum in Figueres, Spain.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Arc de Triomf is a memorial arch in Barcelona. It was built for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Parc de la Ciutadella is a park in Ciutat Vella, Barcelona.  The park includes a zoo, a lake, a large fountain and several museums. It is the greenest place you can go to in Barcelona.

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© Sarasi Peiris

This is the exterior of the Ohla hotel. It is extremely eye-catching.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a a concert hall in Barcelona, Spain. Designed by architect Lluis Domenech I Montaner, it is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated only by natural light during daylight.

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Molokini Crater

Molokini is a half-moon shaped part submerged volcanic crater located near Maui, Hawaii. It is popular for scuba diving, snuba and snorkeling. This was my first photo with a hired underwater camera.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Casa Batlló is an architectural masterpiece designed by Antonio Gaudi. It is located in the middle of the Passeig de Gracia, which was known to be a prestigious and fashionable area. It is locally known as the House of Bones.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain formed out of pink conglomerate located near the city of Barcelona. It  is famous as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa maria de Montserrat. Since the 12th century, pilgrims journey to the mountain to worship the statue of the Black Madonna (La Moreneta).

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Magic Fountain was designed by Carles Buigas who had a history of creating illuminated fountains. It is just below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc hill. Since the 1980s, music has also been incorporated with the fountain and light show.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Wicked Walu is a restaurant located on a private island on the beautiful Coral Coast of Fiji and belongs to the Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. The seafood here is superb.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve is located on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii.  It is known for its abundance of green sea turtles and parrotfish.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The Halona Blowhole is located on O’ahu, Hawaii. Formed by molten lava tubes from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago, the lava tubes run to the ocean and when the surf is right, the blowhole shoots water up to 30 feet in the air.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Iolani Palace, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, is the only royal palace belonging to the United States. The statue is of King Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810.

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© Sarasi Peiris

The USS Arizona Memorial, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of thousands of sailors and marines killed during the Pearl Harbour attack on 7 December 1941 by Japanese forces.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Keauhou is a beautiful area in Hawaii’s Big Island. At night, the Keauhou area attracts manta rays that feed on microscopic plankton near the shore. It is even possible to go on a manta ray night dive should you wish to do so.

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© Sarasi Peiris

Kona is a district in the Big Island of Hawaii. The region is famous for producing premium coffee.

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France: Paris sights and other highlights

07/31/2012 at 2:07 PM (Photography, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Recently I went on holiday to Spain and France. Here are some photos I took in Paris and surrounding areas.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size image ! These are a mix of DSLR Nikon D4o and Canon Digital Ixus 500 compact camera images.

 

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The Best Pictures of 2011

12/31/2011 at 12:00 PM (Landscapes, National Parks, Photography, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Pinnacles in Cervantes

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is an image of the Pinnacles in Cervantes located north of Perth. They are ancient rock formations located in Nambung National Park. You can choose to walk or drive around these limestone spires. We did the walking first and drove on the way out. Don’t miss out on the biodiversity centre – it’s very educational.

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This picture was taken during an Easter trip to Western Australia. We decided to go see Margaret River and this camel was residing at a cheese factory – no joke! There was an ewe too but she was camera-shy. The place is called Harvey Cheese where we had a delicious cracked black pepper cheddar.

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

To take this picture, I went through a lot of suffering. First of all I woke up at a hostel at 4.45 am in order to make in time for sunrise which according to the meteorology bureau here in Australia was at 6.00 am. This photo is taken from the path up to the summit of Mt William in the Grampians region just as the sun is rising. I guess suffering walking up a dark mountain at 5 am and the low altitude of walking inside a cloud was worth it for a view like this.

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is from the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda,Victoria. Taken in early spring when the flowers were at their finest and brightest, this free park is a must visit attraction. This path instantly reminded me of Anne of Green Gables for some reason.

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

I generally attend two camps with my photography club, one in autumn and the other during spring. This time as part of spring camp, I went to Lake Fyans to see the sunset. We decided to go off the beaten track and was rewarded with shots like the one above.

Benalla

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is a shot I took during my autumn camp as we had a lunch break in the town of Benalla. I thought the rich red autumn foliage and the white crossover bridge made a nice contrast especially with the bright blue skies above.

Lake Catani

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is Lake Catani in the autumn. It is located in the alpine region of Victoria and you need to get there by dirt road. The silver trees you can see are remains of brush that was damaged by forest fires. Bush fires are very common in country Victoria and it is hard to stop it in high wind season.

Winery in Bright

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is in the region of Bright in Victoria and it’s not too far from the border of Victoria and New South Wales. It was taken in the vineyards of Boynton winery. I was fortunate enough to have the bird with the beautiful plumage in the shot taken during sunset but my 18-55 mm lens was much too basic to encompass more zoom.

Mount Buffalo National Park

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This was taken at the base of The Horn close to the car park. Glancing through the hut windows reveals a stunning panorama of dipping hills, other mountain peaks and valley that spreads for miles. This taken on a very cold but sunny autumn afternoon that felt like it was winter so I enjoyed the climb up to the summit as it invigorated me.

The Kookaburra at Churangi Cafe

This image was taken at the cafe just across from William Rickett’s Sanctuary (I have images from there too so let me know if you would enjoy a post about that sculpture park). A waitress told me as I enjoyed my latte that this kookaburra was a regular visitor there which is probably why he is on the entrance sign. The surroundings of this cafe were so beautiful that I felt as if I had stepped into Narnia.

Note: All 10 images were taken by a Nikon D40 DSLR with a basic lens. Make sure to enlarge to view.

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Fun with Models and Cameras

09/16/2011 at 4:17 PM (Couples, Photography, Studio) (, , )

OK, I’ll confess I have been a little too busy this week to complete a review  – I’ve found how addictive an effect the SIMS game has on me. Apart from that I enjoyed a free hair styling session courtesy of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week  and enjoyed a night at The Langham with family because of  a conference. So you’ll have to wait for a week to read my review of another George Eliot based BBC adaptation. But on the weekend before that, I went to a studio where I took some photos of models for TFP – perhaps overdosing on Australia’s Next Top Model actually inspired me with some ideas for creative posing. By the way I think Montana will win the competition – she’s a dark horse who always scrapes through!

I was assigned a slot of one hour with seven other photographers. It was really hard to get decent shots sometimes with lots of flash on Canons and Nikons going off at once. Things started getting interesting when one of the other photographers asked the male model to take off his shirt

Then I figured we could get some appealing shots if we had our female model work with him. Given these models were volunteers, they did a great job although I prefer location shoots over studio shoots since I only like to use minimal amounts of post processing and there’s so much more scope than a blank canvas.

Here are a few I decided to share:

Image: Sarasi Peiris

Image: Sarasi Peiris

Image: Sarasi Peiris

Image: Sarasi Peiris

Well, I don’t want to use up my photo quota because like my last New Year’s Eve post, I’ll be sharing the best 10 photos of 2011. But this is a good way to spend an hour of your weekend – why say no to playing with models and cameras? I love it and what’s better is the models like it more!

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Homage to World Photography Day through Open House Weekend

08/19/2011 at 9:38 AM (Architecture, Art, Design, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , )

On the 30th and 31st of July in Melbourne, we had a special event called Open House Weekend. It unlocks buildings of our city so you can access them on those days only. We are allowed into these spaces with guides providing insights into the importance of these buildings whether it’s significance is being of historical importance, engineering based feat or architectural design. For myself, I only had the Saturday free to  explore so I made it to the six buildings featured below.  As today is August 19th here, World Photography Day, I thought I’ll share some special photos of Melbourne, as it’s my part of the world.

The Origin Roof Garden

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This was my first port of call. After wandering like a lost tourist up and down the road several times, I found the queue for this in Flinders Lane. This was designed by Jamie Durie (who’s of Sri Lankan descent like me) after his team were inspired by the trend which included forming of green spaces within urban centres. The lucky employees at Origin use this private garden in the sky to enjoy yoga, tai chi and other activities.

Myer Mural Hall

The Mural Hall inside Myer Department Store

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This was my fourth stop all the way in Bourke St. It is located on the 6th floor of the retail giant Myer. It is a huge hall designed to hold 550 people with walls decorated with large murals, depicting women through the ages, painted by artist Napier Waller. The murals which were painted at Waller’s studio at Fairy Hills in Ivanhoe and then brought to Melbourne took one whole year to complete. The dining room is significant because this is a rare and intact example of Streamline Moderne style department store dining room in Australia.

RMIT Storey Hall

The Storey Hall RMIT Exterior

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

This is a very striking example of Melbourne architecture because of how dominant the colour green is here. It is because it used to be called the Hiberian Hall. Irish Catholics felt ignored by the Protestant population in Melbourne because they were  denied access to the largest public halls for meetings. So they built this hall in 1887 . It was used for pacificist and anti-conscription rallies during WWI and used as a commune during the General Strike of 1917.

Pixel

The Pixel Office Building

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The Pixel Building, which is named after its attention-grabbing pixellated exterior facade, is now where the former Carlton United Brewery used to be. This building of four storeys which was designed by Studio 505 cost a cool 6 million dollars. It uses wind turbines on the roof and employs a grey water recycling system with reed beds on each level.  It aims to become Australia’s first carbon neutral office building.

Melbourne City Baths

The Melbourne City Baths Exterior

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

In early Melbourne, municipal baths were necessary as private houses had little in the way of private bathing facilities. Built in the early part of the 20th century, this is a distinctive Edwardian Baroque building which was designed by architect JJ Clark. If you look at the signage at the City Baths, you will see on the exterior of the building that there were separate entrances for men and women. On the second floor, there’s a balcony which features historical photographs of times past and you can see the men’s pool from the balcony.

National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria Water Fountain

Copyright: Sarasi Peiris

The NGV was designed by Roy Grounds, an Australian architect. It was the first major public building to be constructed in Victoria in the fifty years following WWI and the first new art gallery to be constructed in Australia after WWII. It features an abstract ceiling of multicoloured glass by artist Leonard French, which really took a beating during the hailstorms. The entire building is surrounded by a moat. The water feature at the entry, where water flows down a glass screen, called the Water Wall is your first glimpse of interior art.

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Japanese Films and Heartrending Plots

02/19/2011 at 11:13 AM (Movies, Nostalgia, Photography, Romance) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have shared my opinions about some of the recent Western films but it has been a while since my exploration of foreign films were publicised.

Tada, kimi wo aishiteru (Heavenly Forest)

http://www.moviepostershop.com/heavenly-forest-movie-poster-2006

In the Japanese movie Tada, kimi wo aishiteru (aka ‘Heavenly Forest‘), we are introduced to Makoto (Hiroshi Tamaki). He is a shy photographer who is a loner, partly because of an embarassing skin condition and finds it difficult to share confidences with others until he meets Shizuru (Aoi Miyazaki). She befriends him just before their university orientation after he takes a snapshot of her trying in vain to get cars to stop at a crossing. Their budding friendship allows Makoto to tutor Shizuru in the art of photography in a special location – the ‘heavenly forest’ of this title.

It is clear that although Shizuru is very small for her age and has odd quirks, she genuinely cares for Makoto. He on the other hand is infatuated with Miyuki (Meisa Kuroki) who has a rather disturbing obsession with weddings. Finally realising her feelings are unlikely to be requited, Shizuru makes friends with Miyuki herself. Prior to graduation, Shizuru requests a special birthday kiss from Makoto. He agrees only because she says it is for the purpose of a photography competition. When he makes no acknowledgement of having feelings for her after the kiss they share in the forest, Shizuru disappears completely from his life.

It is only when she is missing that Makoto realises the big impact she had on his life and takes it on to search for her. Except he does not know that Shizuru has kept her own secret from him throughout their friendship, although she discovered his. Then he hears from Miyuki there is an opportunity to see Shizuru once again. The meeting turns out to be completely different affair from what he expected.

This film tells us not to take what you get for granted because you might only realise what you had after you lose it, promotes the beauty of the natural world through the stunning still photography and even the haunting music is captivating because this story is deeply engaging with a universal theme.

Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

You might know of the animated title of the same name which won several awards that was directed by Mamoru Hosada. This live-action Time Traveller: Girl Who Leapt Through Time movie contains similar themes but  uses a different plot. The 2010 film stars Akari (Riisa Naka) – the same actress who voiced the protagonist of the animation – as the daughter of Professor Kasuko, who is given a mission to deliver a message to Kazuo Fukamachi (Kanji Ishimaru) in the year 1972 when a bus accident makes it impossible for her mother to fulfill a promise. The time travelling is possible because Akari’s mother develops a formula that enables her to return to and from the past.

Unfortunately Akari mixes up the dates and ends up in 1974, two years later from the actual date, where she meets Ryota (Akinobu Nakao), a budding filmmaker. His friend, the cameraman Gotetsu (Munetaka Aoki), has a deep connection to Akari but this realisation does not strike her until she returns to the present. Meanwhile Ryota and Akari share a sweet but sort of awkward chemistry which is obvious through the significance of the movie reel she is able to take to her present. Most of her time in 1974 is focused on her search for the elusive Kazuo. Even her own mother whom she meets is unable to help her.  Ryota gives her help with her search by accompanying her to put an ad in a newspaper that requests Kazuo to meet with her. After she delivers her message, she remains in 1974 because she wants to prevent an accident but she is kept from altering the course of history by Kazuo himself.

So when Akari is forced to return back from the past, it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow given what could have blossomed. This too is one of those movies that depict images captured on film can leave a legacy. Both emotional and powerful in its climax, this is not one to discount in its effect.

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