Thursday, 12 November 2009

On the Beach

One of our bigger problems with our two year old Dylan has been water. Because of the grommets in his ear we want to avoid his head getting in the water; and because of that we have had a problem with introducing him to water play and swimming. However, sea water is supposedly less of a problem than your average chlorine / bacteria infested swimming pool. And given the hot weather spell Melbourne is currently going through we decided to have an early morning adventure at the beach before it gets too hot.
It was a good opportunity to introduce Dylan to the huge truck we got him at a recent toy sale. He may be afraid of water, but at least he’d be able to enjoy himself playing with his new truck:

The concept worked and we all had a good time at the beach. Dylan woke us up early, as usual, which meant we comfortably left the beach by 10:00. Actually, getting to the beach turned out to be the problem: we may live right next to it, but on that particular day our local council decided to close our beach in favor of some triathlon (damn Aussies with their damn sports) so we had to venture into neighboring territories.

I noticed the photos I posted on Flickr from our beach adventures turned out less than ideal, so I started thinking of the reasons why.
Because we went to the beach, I replaced the shake reduction equipped Sigma lens I’ve had fitted on my Pentax K-7 DSLR with a water resistant Pentax lens. That water resistant lens does not have shake reduction, so I should have turned the camera’s built in shake reduction to compensate. I forgot to do it, though, and given that by now I take shake reduction for granted and don’t even bother to keep still while taking photos, some of my photos turned out too blurry for comfort.
Let that be a lesson on the price we pay for cutting edge technologies.
Then there is the issue of mastering my photos prior to publishing them. It really is a must to master the photos, even if I rarely go beyond basic adjustments (with the number of photos I’m taking, anything more than that would be prohibitively time consuming). The heat conspired against me to prevent me from mastering the photos on my calibrated 19” desktop monitor, so I did it on my netbook instead. The results speak for themselves: the netbook’s overly shiny screen made my white balance and contrast adjustments go all over the place.
Let that be a lesson in favor of monitor calibration.

The first thing we noticed upon approaching the beach itself was the abundance of dogs. Not that dogs are so rare, it's just that we were surrounded by signs saying dogs must be on a leash, with a $200 penalty applying otherwise, whereas the vast majority of the dogs we saw were freely roaming about. The local council could have made a fortune there!
Normally, I'm not an advocate for fining people. But when you encounter that breed of the confidence deprived young woman herding a flock of rottweilers, some of them unleashed, through a beach full of babies and kids who won't know a rottweiler from a poodle, there is danger in the air. Or when you see the dogs pooing and peeing on the same sand that young kids put in their mouths a few seconds later.
Then we saw a mother that brought her two year old to the beach with her. Judging by her appearance and behavior, she was obviously well to do. The boy was dressed with the latest kids' fashion from Polo, including a baseball hat; only that the mother failed to notice that the beach is not a fashion show. Being as close as it is to the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, the sun is particularly harsh (and abundant) in Australia. Unless you're a fool, you take care of yourself when exposing your body to the Aussie sun; and you use more than a baseball hat to protect yourself at the beach. That said, that mother didn't bother bringing any toys for her son to play with either, so he was left to annoy other kids by trying to steal their toys (including Dylan's big truck).

Overall, we've had a fun day:

We got back home early and tired.

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