GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #001



And so it begins

Hello and welcome to the first edition of the GRAYnomad chronicles .

Over the past three years I have been writing a diary detailing the building of our motor home. As the construction drew to an end people began asking me if I would continue with a diary when we hit the road.

Well the short answer is "yes", but I also want to talk about photography, living on the road and occasionally I get the urge to sound off about something entirely different or simply make an observation about life.

Given the above I felt that a the previous diary format was not suitable, and decided to create the GRAYnomad chronicles

How long will it last? I have no idea. How will I upload it to the web while on the road? I don't know. Will I bore you to tears? I hope not.

As you can see I don't know much but that's never stopped me from talking before.


On the road
We now live permanently in our motor home and we learn new stuff about this lifestyle almost on a daily basis. Lots of this will be interesting to other full-timers and those contemplating a sea change (or is that a road change?).

As we learn how to do things, like make our own toilet chemicals to save money, I'll tell you. As we have experiences I'll also tell you. Hopefully this will not only be interesting but also informative and smooth the way for you if you're just entering this lifestyle or trying to decide if it's for you.


I've been working and/or playing in photography for about 30 years. I'm passionate about all forms of image making from large format bellows cameras to digital video.

Feral Fotographer (that's me) will talk about subjects from simple composition to Scheimpflug movements on view cameras and how to get a decent shot of your motor home.


Me and the Misses (or should that be the Misses and I) sometimes do interesting outdoorsey things like canoe down the Murray or bushwalk in the Kosciuszko high country.

An account of these adventures often makes interesting reading and may entice you to have a go, or if you don't need enticing, maybe just give you the information to do something similar.


So there you have it, hopefully we can come up with something of interest to you. If not, maybe you should drop us a line and make a suggestion.


Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

10 June 2001

There has been a lot of activity on the truck in the past few weeks since returning from the Griffith rally.

Firstly the motorbikes are in. This was a big job entailing the construction of a crane and the actual fitting of the bikes into custom-made cradles.

I had modeled the fitting on the computer and calculated that I had about 2mm to spare. I was 100% wrong, I only had 1mm to spare. But they do fit.

Because the bikes are a very irregular shape I did the modeling by photographing one of them from different angles (and from as far away as possible to reduce perspective error), then scanning the photos, tracing the outline and finally scaling the result to the correct size.

Here one of the bikes is being lifted into the truck. Note the crane with an electric winch.

We've been away several times, partly because we want to get some use out of the motor home and partly to shake it down and see if there are any problems.

One trip was to Pine Island, a popular picnic spot in Canberra.

"Wothahellizat" parked at Pine Island.

We took the bikes so Chris could get some practice. On the evening of the second day the ranger dropped in, he was very interested in the rig and we showed him around but we could see that he was working up to ask us to move on.

We pre-empted the issue by asking what the definition of camping was (there's a $5000 fine for "camping" here). This stumped him and I suspect he would have allowed us to stay but then he reminded us that this area was frequented by the local lads and it was Friday night.

Point taken.

We moved down to the lake.

Parked at East Basin at the upper end of Lake Burley Griffin.

We found a nice spot right on the lake shore and near the Old Bus Depot markets.

The next morning I walked along the lake to the markets while Chris read a book. We had the usual bevy of curious people but when I spotted the police boat making a beeline for us I thought "Here we go".

The boat pulled up a few metres off shore and he reached for the megaphone..."You realise that only you and the Governor General have such a good view of the lake" he said. "Yeah, and I paid a lot less" I replied.

He waved and continued his rounds. Later he returned with a boatload of people to show them the rig.

The afternoon was getting on and we were just starting to think about going home to the workshop when another ranger turned up.

This one was quite young and we could see that he was trying to work up the courage to tell us we couldn't camp there. I put him out of his misery by working into the conversation that we were about to go home.

Oallen Ford
The Canberra CMCA chapter had a weekend outing at one of our favourite spots, Oallen Ford.

We left on Friday afternoon with plenty of time to get there before dark. At least that was the plan. Suffice to say that we got seriously geographically embarrassed and didn't arrive 'till well after dark.

At one point we flagged down a motorist to ask for directions and he said "Crikey you've been on a good trip, you passed me hours ago".

In my defense I have since looked at three maps of the area and they all show different roads, and the locality that we were driving around wasn't even mentioned on the map we had in the truck!

On arrival we were warned of the sand but simply drove through it. The truck did pig root briefly but I put it in six-wheel-drive. End of problem.

"Wothahellizat" camped in the middle of the sandy patch.

Mark & Gail's "Hobohome"

Adrian & Carrol's "Tender One"

Roger & Kerryn's "Indulgence"

The weekend was spent in the usual manner, sitting around the campfire, drinking, eating, walking along the river etc.

Early morning chat near the warmth of the fire.

As usual a good time was had by all. I was about to suggest to Chris that we stay an extra couple of days when I realised that she was working on Monday. Bummer, we're not quite free yet, just a few more weeks.

It's cold
Speaking of work, Chris normally gets a lift into the office but she's has taken to working late so the lift is often not available come time to go home.

The trouble is it's a tad cold in Canberra at this time of year. Just the other day we had -6 overnight. We're warm enough inside the motor home but on a bike with the wind-chill factor it ain't much fun. Still the money's good and with interest rates as they are every little bit counts


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