AE 468 – WWP: Practice Makes Perfect
Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete, guys. Just about to get ini the car to a nearby wildlife reserve. I’ve been going there quite often, checking the place out, and trying to practice my photography. So, just let me reverse out of the driveway, not back into the fence here, and then we’ll drive down, and see if we can get some of the light before the sun sets, but unfortunately, it looks like today is pretty overcast and there isn’t going to be a lovely sunset by the looks of it. But we will see.
I thought I would do a little Walking with Pete episode like this, or Driving with Pete, Cruising with Pete, because it just gives me a chance to chat to you guys about different topics, and I thought it was relevant today, because I’m going out to do this photography this is kangaroos, and I’ve been out there a lot. I’ve been doing it several times the past week going to the same location and just trying to hone my skills at the same task, you know? Even though, it’s the same thing, I’m going to the same place, that I’m doing… I’m doing the same activity, photographing probably the same kangaroos, although, my kangaroo facial recognition isn’t the best. So, I have no idea if they’re the same kangaroos or not, but it’s the same… it’s the same sort of thing is anything, right? If you want to get good at something, it’s really good to just keep doing the same thing again and again and again, and not always… not always change rapidly, right. You know, like, if you’re going to be studying English and you need to… you’re trying to improve your English by watching a TV series for example, it’s pretty… it’s pretty easy to just watch the whole thing once and not go over it a few times, right? Whereas, I think, for me at least, it’s a lot better and I learn a lot more if I go over the same thing many times and I don’t just watch it once, never watch it again, and move on. So, it’s the same thing I think. I’m trying to improve my photography, I’m trying to get good at doing photos of, I guess, animals, wildlife, locations, as well. And so, I thought all of this week I’m going to keep going to the same location every single night. There’ll be different conditions. Maybe I’ll see different kinds of animals, different things to photograph. I’ll get to practice in all kinds of different… all kinds of different conditions. So, I think it would be really good, and I thought it was relevant, because it’s the same with language learning, right? You’re not going to use a new set of words or phrases every time you speak English. You’re going to keep using the same patterns, the same language again and again and again, and so it is worth going over, it’s worth practising the same things many times in a row and just constantly honing your skills. And so, fortunately, I am almost there. It’s that close, guys. And, oh my gosh, I can see dozens and dozens and dozens of kangaroos. So, this would be really good.
And there’s been this… What happened? We went out here the other day, right, and we disappeared into this reserve here and ended up bushwhacking, meaning that we went off the path and just walked through the bush, the forest, the trees, in order to find the road to get out, ’cause we wanted to get out quicker. So, we did that and it’s funny because we’ve got a bit lost, but then ended up in this really cool place, which is… it’s called Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve.
So, I’ve just arrived and on the sign they have a picture of an echidna. So, I imagine that there will actually be some echidnas in here that hopefully I will see at some point, although, I haven’t seen any yet. And the other thing is to get in here you have to climb over this fence. So, you’ll probably hear this. This is like this little metal step ladder that goes over the top of a fence here. So, I have to come up it and then go down it. And you’re not allowed to bring dogs or cats in here because there’s a lot of… there’s a lot of animals, obviously, but there’s also poison. So, there’s a poison here in Australia called 1080 poison, and it’s used for poisoning foxes and cats, specifically. And unfortunately, I think it can kill dingoes, obviously, their dogs, and pets as well, right? So, if you’ve got a pet dog, they can be affected by this poison, and it can also harm things like goannas. But, yeah, it’s a pretty… it’s a bit of a contentious issue I think in Australia, using 1080 poison, because it kills a lot of wildlife, any carnivores that are going to eat the bait, which is… it tends to be a mate that has been poisoned with this stuff. Any native carnivores are also going to die from this poison and it’s a really shit way to go, meaning that it’s a horrible way to die if you eat this poison. I think it is an agonizing death. It takes hours. It’s not like a poison that you eat and, you know, like cyanide or something, you’re dead instantly. So yeah, there’s a lot of people who are pretty against using 1080 poison.
Yeah. But yeah, I’m dying to see an echidna in here, because we were here the other day and when we got lost, we went off the path and there were lots of termite mounds around in the forest here. Termites are those small, I guess they’re called ‘white ants’ here, colloquially, but they’re not ants, they’re not… they’re a different kind of insect, different family. They’re not ants. But termites are a favourite food have kidneys and a lot of these termite mounds had holes that had been dug into the bottom of them, which were made by echidnas. So, there was signs of these echidnas all over the place, but it’s just a matter of actually coming across one. And they’re pretty cool little critters. They don’t seem to really care too much about other people and other things because of obviously their spines, which protect them pretty well.
Anyway, so I’m out here probably going to finish up quickly. I’m just walking off the path, off the beaten track, and there’s a big dam in front of me where we where the other day, and I’ve got some really good photos of the kangaroo hopping across, past the dam, with its reflection. And anyway, I’m… what I’m looking at at the moment is the dam in front of me. There are probably about a hundred kangaroos in front of me spread across the ground here. It’s kind of like a field, like a farm field, with very short grass, because they will eaten the grass. There’s kangaroo poo everywhere. So, I can see there’s hundreds of them in this in this really big field. So, I can see too, they’re looking at me, so they can hear my voice. I’m going to grab my camera out, I’m going to try and get close, get some nice photos, and I will chat you guys soon. So, I hope you enjoy this episode stay tuned and keep improving your English, guys. All the best.
All right. So, part two of Walking with Pete. (I’m) Currently walking back through the park that I was in to start with, that I was entering when I think I left you guys earlier on, and it’s been an incredible evening, incredible evening. I got a few good shots of some kangaroos, except tonight they were a little bit skittish. They were sort of running away before you could get very close to them. Whereas in previous nights, (I’ve) been able to get really close and they just ignore me. So, not sure what was going on tonight. I think too as soon as you get one or two kangaroos bolting, they don’t really run, they hop off. I don’t really know a verb for hopping really fast, but they hop incredibly quickly in order to escape or to run off, and as soon as one of them does it, it seems like the entire mob does it. Remember guys, ‘a mob’ is the collective word for a group of kangaroos.
And I am currently walking up back that dam. There’s a fence that I’m walking along and there’s a few kangaroos checking me out on the other side of the fence, (I’m getting pretty close to them, though, I think they know I can’t get them. Let’s see if you can hear them if they hop off. But yeah, they’re pretty quiet. But it’s been a great night.
There’s quite a few of these kangaroos. You can see they’ve got pouches right in front of them, between their legs, and the females tend to have a lot of joeys, like, it seems to be crazy just how many of them are pregnant with joeys at the moment. And, I’m just going to try and get a really good shot of this one that’s allowed me to… Oh, that’s alright. I’ve been trying to get some close ups of their faces. That one wasn’t having it, although, it was only about four or five metres away. Anyway, tonight was good. There was joeys everywhere. And I think I can see, in front of me, a whole bunch of them lying down, although, I might actually just be a few logs. It’s gotten a bit dark. I can’t really see very well. Anyway.
Yeah. So, loads of kangaroos, loads of mums, and the joeys kind of like just shove their heads out of the pouches every now and then. But it’s kind of pretty cool. It’s very quiet in this little area too, because it’s kind of a valley between some low-lying hills and low-lying mountains, and so there’s not much wind down here. So, when you get down here, you’re just sitting there, taking photos, chilling out, and it’s just… just dead quiet. Although, you can hear the cockatoos in the background going “Rah, rah, rah”. The cockatoos are just going crazy.
The last thing I wanted to mention tonight was that it was really good because I came across, I stumbled upon, I spied, an echidna, which is what I was hoping to see at some point, and I didn’t expect to see it tonight. (I) didn’t think they’d be out and about. I was walking up the hill to finish. I was sort of trying to chase the sun, right. So, I had… I’d parked in the car park and then was walking, I guess, it’s walking west, and I was doing this because I wanted to catch the kangaroos in front of me with the sun behind them so that when I got some photos of them their hair was kind of lit up, they had the sun, the light, coming from behind them. It just look truly good. I really like that sort of angle, I guess. And so, I was trying to get that angle and the sun went down behind the hill on one side of the valley. And so, I sort of obviously ran out of light and had to climb the hill, and there were kangaroos on the other side. So, that’s what I was doing. And I went over there and was taking some photos of mum and some joeys, and then I spied what I thought was like the end of a log. I thought it was the dark opening of a hollow in a log from far away. And then, I sort of saw it move and was like, “Uhoh! Here’s an echidna!”. So, I walked over to him. The good thing is they’re not very fast. He didn’t really seem me. He/she, whichever one it was.
And so, I got a few photos from maybe five or 10 metres away, and I thought, “Alright, I’m not wearing my best kit, I’m not wearing my…, you know, I’m not wearing a suit or anything expensive.”. So, I thought, “You know what? I’m going to get on the ground, try crawling up, and getting some close ups of this guy with Kel’s 250mm lens on my camera, which allows me to get pretty close and take some really nice shots.”. And so, I sort of had to comando it up through the grass, the dirt, the dust, and a lot more kangaroo poo than I would have liked. I was crawling through that. And I got within a metre of this little guy, and, I mean I took about half an hour of crawling and creeping up on him. There was a rock between us originally, and I sort of crawled up behind this big rock or boulder and was looking over it taking a shot, or a few shots of this guy, and then, I thought, “All right. You know what? I’ve got all these photos. I’ll see if I can get closer.”. And he had his head down in the in the dirt digging up some anthill eating the ants. And it was crazy. I got so close I could see… every time he lifted his head up he had ants on his face. He was licking is his face eating the ants. His tongue was flicking out. They have an incredibly long tongue.
And it was funny, because I know they don’t have very good eyesight. They can’t see very well. So, I thought, as long as I don’t move too much and I stay low to the ground, he’s not going to freak out, and even if he does, echidnas don’t run away. That’s why they cover it in spikes, right. They hunker down, dig their feet in, and they say, “Bring it on!”, and if you touch them, you know, they… they’re protecting themselves so they’re not too worried about it.
So, I thought, I’ll see how close I can get. He couldn’t see me very well, but he would put his head up every now and then and he would try to smell. I think he was trying to get my scent. And every now and then he would kind of sort of shove his head down in the sand or the dirt trying to hide really abruptly, and then maybe 30 seconds later he put his head up again and see if there was movement or anything, and there wasn’t. So, what a ripper of a night. What a ripper the night.
And now the sun has well and truly gone down. It’s pretty dark. I’m back at my car. I just have to open it up and chuck everything in, and head home and get ready for the next lesson. But, what a night! And I guess that’s the whole point, right. Dropped my phone. That’s the whole point you do this. That’s why you get out there. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s kind of funny, I… when I was young, I used to love going fishing, and I can kind of see the parallels, right, between this and fishing, ’cause you never know if you’re going to see something worth taking a photo of, you never know what’s going to be out there. And my dad used to always hate fishing. It was really funny. I was always like, “Why do you hate fishing?”. Obviously, he just doesn’t like herding animals, right. So, he would always be telling me how much he doesn’t like fishing, he would join me though, and he would bring his camera gear. So, while I was fishing when I was a little kid, sort of, more or less, my father was also fishing. We’ll just get off the road, or get on the road, get off the bike. And yeah, I can see why so many people enjoy it. You never know what’s going to come. You never know if you’re going to get a shot that’s in focus. You never know if you’re going to, you know, be able to get the right angle, if you’re going to accidentally freak the animal out, and I’m just sort of slowly learning how to use things like the aperture, shutter speed, all of that sort of stuff. So, I think Kel’s got a lot better than me at the moment. She’s been watching a lot of YouTube video, and I love the fact that these days with YouTube you can learn anything, you can learn anything. Anyway.
(I’ve) been rabbiting on quite a bit, guys. I hope you like the episode. There’s a lot of good vocab in there for you, and I hope you get out there do some photography as well, and if not photography, I hope you get out there and start using your English. You know, and you if you talk about the same things quite a lot, you know, like I’m saying I’m going out here each night at the moment, just spending an hour or two taking some photos of the same stuff, but I never know what’s going to happen, right. So, get out there and use your English, have a conversation with someone about something that you like, that you enjoy, and keep talking about that topic, you know, and if you’re watching a TV show, keep watching the same episodes and sucking more content out of the same stuff, right. It’s a good way to advance quickly. And with that, guys, I hope you have an amazing night and I’ll chat to you soon. See ya!