First Communion

I was walking around town Saturday evening looking for some photos in the sunset light and I happened to walk past the Catholic Church (the one and only church in Laverton).  As I walked by, I saw that a couple of the kids were walking in with white dresses.  So, I asked if it was their first communion tonight (which it was) and I was invited in to take pictures.  A Catholic myself, I remember my first communion years and years ago.  I think I got a pair of Rollerblades as a gift that day in addition to a dozen necklaces with saint medals on them.  If there is any indication of how long ago my First Communion was, it’s that Rollerblades were actually popular at the time.

Of the pictures I took, I liked this one the best for some reason.  Everyone is waiting outside for the latecomers to hurry down the street so they can start the mass.  I think my family was usually a few minutes late to mass, but they certainly didn’t wait for us…

First Communion in Laverton, Western Australia

Tina and Mike’s Wedding

This past weekend, we went to a friend’s wedding which was held at Point Peron Beach south of Perth near a town called Rockingham. Although the weather was rainy for most of the day, it luckily stopped for the ceremony. Bad weather or good weather, it was a beautiful place for a wedding. I tried to take a couple of photos from the audience without getting in the way of the paid wedding photographers:

A Day at the Laverton Races

On Sunday, Laverton held one of its bigger events of the year– Laverton Race Day.  Even though it is a town with a little over 300 people, Laverton actually has a horse racing track.  Complete with fancy hats and fancy dress, Laverton Race Day brings out the entire town.  Horses and jockeys from around the state come  to race and the bookies are there as well to run the gambling.  Unlike fancy city race tracks that run the betting by computer, the bookies here actually used their namesake to record wagers.

I have never shot horse racing before but I have always wanted to.  It is definitely a sport that you need to cover from multiple places at the same time (i.e., by using remote cameras) but unfortunately I didn’t have remotes or the guts to leave a camera sitting around waiting to be covered in orange dust.

As I was getting the hang of shooting, there was a big crash at the finish line during the 3rd race (which of course, I was at the opposite end of the track for) and a jockey went face first into the dirt.  After the crash, they called off the rest of the day’s races for safety reasons which was a huge bummer.  All the rain that Laverton got a few weeks back really messed up the track and the conditions just weren’t safe for the jockeys.  However, the actual races are only part of the day’s fun.

After the races, they play a gambling game called “2UP” which is basically just flipping coins and betting on heads or tails.  One person stands in the middle of a big ring and flips two coins at once.  You find somebody else standing around the ring and bet “heads” or “tails.”  So, if you bet “heads,” the other person is betting on “tails.”  If you win, you take that persons money and visa versa. I tried to photograph the game, but never really ended up with the picture that I wanted.  I posted a few below anyway.

Despite the race cancellations, it was still a fun day and a good change of pace photographically.  Hopefully they will have better luck with the track next year.

2010 Laverton Race Day at the Laverton Race Course in Laverton, Western Australia.Bookies, using actual books, take wagers before the start of the first race during Laverton Race Day.

2010 Laverton Race Day at the Laverton Race Course in Laverton, Western Australia.

2010 Laverton Race Day at the Laverton Race Course in Laverton, Western Australia.Volunteers from the crowd pick up rocks and debris to try and improve track conditions before the start of the Laverton Races.

Games of 2UP are played during Laverton Race Day in Laverton, Western Australia.Younger members of the crowd try to get a glimpse of a game of “2UP” being playing inside the licensed ring at the Laverton Racecourse.

Men place wagers on whether coins will land "heads" or "tails" during a game of 2UP following the Laverton Races in Laverton, Western AustraliaMen place wagers on whether coins will land “heads” or “tails” during a game of 2UP following the Laverton Races.  ( I just liked the color in this picture.  This is exactly what it looked like straight out of the camera…)

Kangaroo Hunting… Now in Technicolor!

So it seems like the vast majority of you want to see the previous post’s pictures in color…. or should I say COLOUR now that I am in Australia?

I like both versions but the end product of this project will probably be in color colour.  So, to see the difference, I have re-posted the exact same images only this time in full technicolor for your enjoyment.  You tell me what you think.  I will even throw in a bonus image that shows just one more step of the process.

Unfortunately, a couple of these photos were taken at almost high noon which means you lose that gorgeous orange dirt.  It is almost reflective instead of orange at that hour.  Luckily, some of the days activities happened during the good afternoon light.  Why can’t everything in life happen during perfect golden hour light?  That would make my job a lot easier…

Kangaroo hunting near Mt. Margaret, Western Australia.

Kangaroo Hunting near Mt. Margaret, Western Australia

Kangaroo Hunting near Mt. Margaret, Western Australia

A Kangaroo is skinned after a hunt near Mt. Margaret, Western Australia

Kangaroo Hunting near Mt. Margaret, Western Australia

Hunting Kangaroo (and other creatures)

Yesterday, I got to go out kangaroo hunting with some locals out in Mt. Margaret (about 35 km or so west of Laverton).  For my photo essay on Aboriginal diabetes, I want to show the traditional (and healthier) food sources.  Winston, Bradley, and Shane Stokes were my generous hosts and I am very thankful they let me ride along with them.

When I think about it, I realize I haven’t ever been hunting or seen anybody hunt in person until yesterday.  This is surprising given that I grew up in Missouri and went to school in Texas.  I have shot plenty of guns meant for hunting, but never at any animals.  Although I was shooting pictures (and not kangaroos), it was quite an experience going on a hunting trip for the first time.  For once, I followed my food from living, breathing animal to my plate– not something you usually get to do.  I also ended up with a little more kangaroo blood on my pants than I had orginally planned going into this, but that is all part of the fun.

When the day was done, we came back with 9 Kangaroos, 1 Emu, and 2 Goannas (giant lizards).  Because there is a funeral in town this weekend, they needed to get a lot of meat to feed everyone.  When we got back, a couple of kangaroos, the emu, and Goannas were gutted and then cooked the traditional way– buried in the ground with hot coals.  The remaining kangaroos were skinned and saved for later or given out to other members in the community.  Family slowly started showing up throughout the afternoon and the meat they cooked fed probably 30 or more people.

I tried a little bit of everything but my favorite was definitely the Goanna tail.  Just peel back the scaly skin and it tastes exactly like chicken (no really, it does).

Again, I have to thank the Stokes family for letting me hang out with them all day, inviting me to their big family event, and then letting me photograph everything.  It was a good time and I got to see some beautiful country that I would otherwise never see.

I took way too many photos and I am still wading through them.  So, I will just post a couple.  I also chose to do these pictures in black & white.  I am not sure why, but I think I like them better that way.  It also takes away the bloody shock value of the photos.  But, I still haven’t decided if my end project will be in color or black & white.  Thoughts?

Kangaroo Hunting

Australia Kangaroo Hunting

Australia Kangaroo Hunting

Australia Kangaroo Hunting

30-Day Project | Days 27 & 28

Day 28 | No Humbugging

From the Desert Inn, the local pub here in Laverton.  I haven’t broken any of the rules… yet…. I do plan on humbugging at some point though…

Desert Inn Laverton

Day 27 | 8th Largest Desert???

Well, for the Day 27 posting, I was hoping to show you some pictures from a kangaroo hunting trip I was supposed to photograph today.  But, of all the things that could have happened, it poured down rain and canceled the trip… In the world’s 8th largest desert…  In fact, it rained for 3 days straight, almost nonstop.  All the open-pit mines in the area had to shut down because it was so wet (meaning everyone went straight to the pub), roads were flooded, and flights in and out of the mines were canceled.  It really isn’t something you see everyday out here.

It really is just my luck.  Whenever I go somewhere, I usually hear from someone that it is the _______’est weather we have had in _____ years (fill in the blanks).  But, for the outback, rain is a good thing and I am sure there will be plenty of hot, dusty days to come.

Rain in the Outback