Seventy years ago next month, mum, dad and little me moved from the City of Sydney to the wilds of the Riverina in New South Wales.

It was 1946, the Second World War had not long ended and in the county particularly, everyone owned rifle or two.

I was six when my dad’s brother came to live with us and he took me under his wing.

The two brothers were totally different. My dad was an academic whose hobbies included books, classical Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

His brother on the other hand was a knockabout sort of a bloke who loved guns, hunting, fishing and mucking about with engines. He had also fought in the Spanish Civil War.

It wasn’t long before my uncle had me out in the paddock with his .22 calibre Browning rifle where, under his expert tutelage I learned firearm safety, how to shoot accurately over open sights  and the need to take head shots on rabbits.

The head shots of course meant that the bunnies were not knocked about  internally and when skinned and cleaned they were presentable and ready for the oven. The skinning was also my responsibility.

The years passed quickly and my love and use of firearms never diminished, helped along no doubt by a stint in the army.

Then, for a further thirty five years I carried a side arm every day as part of my chosen profession.

Gradually, my personal collection of rifles and shotguns diminished and after what became known as the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, like many thousands of gun owners, I surrendered, with one exception,  all of my firearms.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I received a message from a gun loving mate who was leaving Australia to live permanently  overseas.

The purpose off his call was to see if I was interested in buying his significant licensed gun collection.

Boy oh boy, was I tempted. Then reality came to my rescue. Cameras, Harley Davidsons, Landrovers and other big boys toys had reduced the exchequer to a parlous state. However, I thought that his .22 calibre Winchester would suit me down to the ground.

He brought it in from the farm for me to have a look at it. To say it was in as new condition would be a gross understatement. Then he informed me that he could guarantee the rifle had only fired five rounds. I could see that the bore was pristine as was the bolt face and there was absolutely no slack in the trigger mechanism and the sear and bent were perfect.

The came the great surprise.

On the stock was a silver crest bearing the initials of the NSW Rifle Association, dated 1976, Winner 50 Metre Championship, R.J.Dove.

I told my mate I was interested and that I’d get back to him ASAP.

An R.J.Dove was a long time personal friend. I knew he was a shooter and a bower bird like me who couldn’t bear to part with important toys.

I phoned Mr Dove and explained the purpose of the call. He immediately responded by telling me that the Winchester had been stolen from his home years before, along with a number of other firearms. Naturally he asked me what I intended to do about his missing rifle and I said I’d get back to him, ASAP.

What a turn up when I contacted my other mate, the vendor. In response to my question about the Winchester’s provenance he told me that he got the rifle from his brother who in turn had bought it from R J Dove, a member of the same rifle club. My mate’s brother claimed that R J Dove had injured his shoulder and had temporarily abandoned Rifle shooting, taking up pistol shooting instead.

Back on the phone to R J Dove. After telling me that he had totally forgotten he’d sold the Winchester, he confirmed his sale of the  Winchester for exactly the reasons given to me by the current vendor.

Of course, I immediately purchased the Winchester after going through all of the rigamarole required by the NSW Firearms Registry before I could take possession of the rifle.

Now if you think that’s the end of this long winded yarn, you are badly mistaken.

Once a year our select littler group of motorcyclists meet at a different locations for a meal, a few beers and to plot and scheme our rides for the next six months or so.

R J Dove was one of those motorcyclists and She Who Must Be Obeyed and I thought it would be a nice gesture, after the get together, to present R J Dove with his long forgotten Winchester as a token of our esteem.

The time came, we gathered outside the pub around R J Dove, I reached into our vehicle,  produced the Winchester and handed it to him with the intention of saying a few words about it.

R J Dove didn’t give me the chance to utter a single word. He looked at the Winchester, put it back into our vehicle with the words,’That was an earlier chapter in my life. See you next ride.’

With that he walked back to his car and simply drove away.

Over the next few years, the shooting career of R J Dove never was mentioned, nor was the Winchester that still resides proudly in the gun safe in Casa Creaking Bones.

A month or so back, R J Dove passed away, aged 86. At his funeral service together with many of the congregation, I was amazed to learn that R J Dove had represented Australia at three Olympics, had been Australian Small Bore Rifle Champion for quite a number of years and was a highly esteemed member of the Australian Small Bore Rifle Association.

Over more than 20 years riding together, R J Dove had never mentioned his shooting prowess. Such was the measure of the man. Never one to boast or brag, R J Dove was multifaceted man and a very private person.

I am proud to have been his friend.

Here is an image of the plaque on the stock of R J Dove’s Winchester.

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Hoo roo for now











For a number of years when I needed to photograph a small item or two I took the object/objects across the back yard and into my studio.

There, after  placing the item to be photographed in the light tent, setting up the studio lights around the tent, taking readings with the meter, setting the camera on the tripod, attaching the cable release , adjusting the focus then firing the lights and making the image I was ready to go back to my office in the house and play with photoshop.

Of course, before so doing I had to pack away the lights, fold up the light tent, a task requiring manual dexterity and memory searching in order to get the tent back into its tiny carry case, close up the tripod and put away the cables.

All this to photograph an oddment or two, a memento, a keepsake  or just an interesting piece off memorabilia.

During the last week or two our weather has been quite miserable to say the least. Tripping through deep frost across to the studio, camera and goodies in hand had very little appeal. Yesterday for example, the frost was thick and at around 8am the temperature outside was minus 2 celsius and would you believe, minus 5 in the studio before the heating was turned on.

That convinced me that for winter at least, an alternative had to be found as I retreated to the house.

Then, as I walked back to our centrally heated home and office,I, like many politicians had a thought bubble.

The office has wide floor to ceiling widows and natural light floods in for most of the day. There are also 6 ceiling downlights with a  fluro light to complement them. Then, in the camera cupboard there is a Manfrotto LED photo light and a couple of Nikon speed lights to boot. Why not use them in combination for lighting and not bother with the studio lights?

Being a bit of a bower bird, I’m loathe to throw anything away and in the cupboard I had the remnants of a grey backdrop from a studio  experiment that went pear shaped. I also had a long cardboard tube that had remained forlornly in a corner waiting to be called into duty.

Not only that, I had my old slide projector stand available and just by chance, a large piece of cardboard, almost 16% grey in colour poked away behind my desk. It was large enough to tuck nicely over the projector stand’s tray.

After a bit of mucking around I hung the makeshift backdrop against the bookcase, placed the projector stand in front and made the images that appear in my recent blog about the folding Nikon mini tripod.

For interest sake I thought you might like to see the set up in the studio, minus the studio lights which are securely locked away, and the improvised turn out here in the office.

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White balance isn’t a problem as RAW provides a nice fixer if things don’t look right. The light tent image was taken under fluro lighting with the suitable WB in camera setting  whilst the office image was made with natural light.

As you can imagine, putting this office set up away is quick and easy meaning She Who Must be Obeyed can quickly get to her computer which you can see in the image’s lower right hand corner.

So, there we are, there are no cold hands and frozen feet from studio time and tranquility pervades Casa Creakingbones.

Hoo roo for now.

PS: my use of the word ‘pervades’ should not be interpreted to mean that my office smells like boiled cabbage.






Recently a mate who is a keen photographer emailed me some bumph about a product available in the States and Canada called a Platypod Max. It’s a light weight metal plate to which you can attach your camera complete with any size lens and place it safely on the ground or any surface with total safety.

Reading my mate’s email reminded me that sometimes I use a small folding Nikon tripod, fitted with a Manfrotto ball head and an Acratech  mounting plate for just that purpose.

The little  Nikon tripod when folded makes a great flat base and can be attached to any vertical or angled structure with a couple of elastic cords or Bungees as we call them here in the Land Down Under.

When the little legs are folded out it gives just enough height when shooting prone to save me getting a stiff neck.

This little combination firmly holds my Nikon D810 with its Nikkor  70-200mm lens attached  with absolutely no discernible camera shake in the  resultant images.

It folds up easily and packs away into my camera bag or backpack when travelling and on the Harley is easily stowed away.

The three following images give you the general idea and please ignore the  angle of the camera in the upright shot. I rushed the shot and didn’t check first that everything was spot on. A grave photographer’s error.


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Hoo roo for now


I’ve been an avid fan of the Nikon camera system since the early 1970’s and I’ve still got every Nikon camera and sense I have ever bought.

My first Nikon digital SLR was the D100 which I’ve since had converted to Infra Red with great  success.

The D100 was followed by the D200, D300, then a leap to the full frame D700, followed by the D800 and now the D810.

The D800 and D810 with their 36mp capacity producing large images with fantastic resolution.

Of course, with any new camera purchase I get the urge, finances permitting(read She Who Must be Obeyed) to add the latest lens as well.

Now all this great gear has one significant drawback for a photographer of advancing years and that is weight, of the cameras, not the photographer.

Without boring you with loads of detail, suffice to say that my D810 with my largest lens attached weighs in at a shade over nine pounds. The following image has a lighter lens attached but it’s still quite heavy.

Carrying that monster all day and hand holding it when shutter speed permits can be quite a strain.

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THE D810 WITH 70-200MM F2.8 LENS


A year or so ago I treated myself to a little Leica Dlux 6. It’s the ants pants of small digital cameras, shoots RAW, has Aperture and Shutter Speed priorities together with all the bells and whistles you can imagine from the Leica stable.

It’s light weight, fits in a pocket and produces great images, colour saturation second to none and its ergonomics are great. Did I mention its lightness.  I’ll mention it again, it’s really light and  Oh yes, it makes great images too.



I was really impressed with the little Leica and I began to research the Leica brand. Unfortunately for me, Leica DSLR’s and their lenses are far, far beyond the reach of my photography  budget.

However, all was not lost. I discovered that Panasonic produce a range of small cameras carrying lenses by Leica, algorithms by Leica and apart from some cosmetic changes, camera bodies by Leica.

The Panasonic models don’t display the red Leica circle but instead have an inconspicuous silver ‘L’displayed on the camera body.

I know it’s difficult to comprehend but two of the Panasonics have joined my collection. Firstly, it was the Panasonic DMC-LX 100.


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This camera is another little ripper. It’s only drawback is the f8 aperture limit. That’s compensated for by the f1.7 aperture available at the wide end and like its Leica brother has a full range of controls available..

I just can’t speak highly enough about this little beauty. It’s served me well and has enabled me to produce some really great images.

The LX 100 is such a great thing that I felt compelled to recently purchase what Panasonic describe as their ‘Travel Camera.’

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This little beauty has an optical lens rage of 25-250mm and a maximum f stop of 2.8. Again, it’s light as a feather and similarly has full manual, aperture, shutter speed and all the other controls you would expect from a Leica based camera.

This is how the three tiny tots look sitting together.

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To say I’m having fun with my new camera is an understatement. I had a local printer copy the TZ110’s instruction manual that I’d downloaded from Panasonic. Copy authorised of course.

It’s a steep learning curve. The instruction manual runs to exactly 406 double sided A4 pages. Thank heavens there is no exam before using the camera.

My brain is definitely in top gear as I try to unravel the operating system and commit to memory the vital info required to get the best out of my ‘travel camera.’

As soon as I’ve produced some reasonable images you can expect to be deluged with the results.

This is a two edged sword. All my reading on the ageing process tells me that I have to exercise my brain on a daily basis. I’m not sure if this instruction manual will do the trick but I reckon that by the time i’ve reached the 80 year level I’ll know for sure.

Hoo roo for now